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change management, innovation, Italy, managerial tools, primary care



  1. Longo, Francesco


Background: There has been much innovation in primary care in the past few decades. Although external and systemic constraints for health care organizations are relevant for their managerial evolution, there is also evidence that organizations operating under the same external pressures reach different levels of maturity.


Purposes: Which of the internal drivers available explain and foster change? Is it possible to rank change drivers by looking at their rate of efficacy in order to define a general change management path in the relationship between managers and physicians? The study is a hypothesis-generating work, designed to discuss a framework, consistent with the complex adaptive systems literature, for more effective internal change management approaches.


Methods: We employed a qualitative approach to conduct a multiple case study in order to directly observe the evidence and to ask "key change players" for their perceptions. We studied different organizations all subject to the same external constraints in order to focus on the effects of internal change drivers.


Findings: According to key players' opinions, the main drivers for managerial development are characteristics of the actors involved: their motivation, leadership, and commitment; the quality of relationships among the main actors; and how the resources dedicated to manage change are used. Given these criteria, any organizational strategy and goal seems to be achievable. This is consistent with the suggestions coming from the complex adaptive system literature.


Managerial Implications: Managers have to consider the management of the relationship with professionals as the key success factor for implementing change. Managerial leadership has to be diffused in the organization both in the vertical and horizontal dimensions. Innovations need a medium or long-term perspective to become widely applied, and this requires a strong commitment which is related to managerial stability. Resources for innovation are to be considered a critical driver for fostering the relationship between managers and professionals.