Global medical practice is increasingly standardizing through evidence-based approaches and quality certification procedures. Despite this increasing standardization, medical work in emergency units necessarily involves sensitivity to the individual, the particular, and the unexpected. While much medical practice is routine, important improvisational elements remain significant. Standardization and improvisation can be seen as two conflicting logics. However, they are not incompatible although the occurrence of improvisation in highly structured and institutionally complex environments remains underexplored. The study presents the process of improvisation in the tightly controlled work environment of the emergency room. We conducted an in situ ethnographic observation of an emergency unit. Using an inductive approach, we see professionals combining ostensive compliance to protocols with necessary and occasional “underlife” improvisations. The duality of improvisation as simultaneously present and absent is related to pressures in the institutional domain as well as to practical needs emerging from the operational realm. The intense presence of procedures and work processes enables flexible improvised performances that paradoxically end up reinforcing institutional pressures for standardization.

Improvising Prescription: Evidence from the emergency room / Batista, Maria da Graça; Clegg, Stewart; Cunha, Miguel Pina e; Giustiniano, Luca; Rego, Arménio. - In: BRITISH JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT. - ISSN 1045-3172. - 27:2(2016), pp. 406-425. [10.1111/1467-8551.12143]

Improvising Prescription: Evidence from the emergency room

GIUSTINIANO, LUCA;
2016

Abstract

Global medical practice is increasingly standardizing through evidence-based approaches and quality certification procedures. Despite this increasing standardization, medical work in emergency units necessarily involves sensitivity to the individual, the particular, and the unexpected. While much medical practice is routine, important improvisational elements remain significant. Standardization and improvisation can be seen as two conflicting logics. However, they are not incompatible although the occurrence of improvisation in highly structured and institutionally complex environments remains underexplored. The study presents the process of improvisation in the tightly controlled work environment of the emergency room. We conducted an in situ ethnographic observation of an emergency unit. Using an inductive approach, we see professionals combining ostensive compliance to protocols with necessary and occasional “underlife” improvisations. The duality of improvisation as simultaneously present and absent is related to pressures in the institutional domain as well as to practical needs emerging from the operational realm. The intense presence of procedures and work processes enables flexible improvised performances that paradoxically end up reinforcing institutional pressures for standardization.
improvisation, intuition, healthcare, dialectics, bureaucracy, institutional complexity, institutional logics
Improvising Prescription: Evidence from the emergency room / Batista, Maria da Graça; Clegg, Stewart; Cunha, Miguel Pina e; Giustiniano, Luca; Rego, Arménio. - In: BRITISH JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT. - ISSN 1045-3172. - 27:2(2016), pp. 406-425. [10.1111/1467-8551.12143]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11385/156788
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