Bamford, David and Griffin, Michael (2008) A case study into operational team-working within a UK hospital. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 28 (3). pp. 215-237. ISSN 0144-3577

Purpose – This paper aims to report on research into human resource management within an operations management environment; specifically, operational team-work amongst health care workers in a hospital.

Design/methodology/approach – Eight operational teams within a UK National Health Service hospital took part and the research used a combination of survey and group discussions.

Findings – The results show the construct of the team had little operational definition. Key factors identified as contributing to effective team-working include: leadership; frequency of team meetings; a climate of trust and openness. There was limited evidence of truly multi-disciplinary teams and of organisational support for team-working.

Research limitations/implications – The methodology applied was appropriate, generating data to facilitate discussion and draw specific conclusions therefrom. A perceived limitation is the single case approach; however, Remenyi et al. argue this can be enough to add to the body of knowledge. In terms of implications this paper demonstrates that team-working is no panacea; as part of a bundle of good operations management practices it is associated with efficiency, effectiveness, and in this case improved patient care.

Practical implications – The paper suggests a new input, process, output model of effective team-working and identifies issues to be faced in adopting a strategy of developing an operational team-based organisation.

Originality/value – The value of this paper is the conclusion that the importance of operational team-working is as a paradigm for assessing how effectively individuals and groups work together, rather than as a specific organisational form with an optimal size.

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