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continuous quality improvement, culture receptivity, home-care, organizational alignment, organizational culture



  1. Firbank, Oscar E.


Background: Overseeing the quality of community-based, home-care services is a subject of concern in most jurisdictions confronted with population aging and the rise of chronic conditions. Although various quality management strategies have been used in different health care settings, continuous quality improvement (CQI) is still in the early stages of development among home-care service providers. What is more, some authors have raised questions as to whether CQI is suitable to the unique character of home-care and can be adequately applied to a diverse and varied range of agencies, each featuring a unique organizational culture, professional mix, and mode of operation.


Purposes: The article reports on how differing organizational cultures-as found in a set of public and private home-care providers-appear to affect agency receptivity to CQI during program implementation.


Methodology/Approach: The research methodology is characterized by a qualitative, multiple case study approach. Data were gathered from a purposive sample of four home-care agencies in Quebec, Canada, belonging to the public, private for-profit, and not-for-profit sectors.


Findings and Practice Implications: It is concluded that a core set of cultural attributes play a decisive role in determining agency receptivity to CQI, even when its effect is mediated by several contingent variables. Further, some of the levers and barriers to implementation identified in previous research seem less relevant to home-care agencies. A number of policy/management implications are discussed, which may enhance receptivity to CQI by home-care agencies and prevent implementation failure.