Doing No Harm: Enabling, Enacting, and Elaborating a Culture of Safety in Health Care

18 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2011  

Timothy J. Vogus

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

Karl E. Weick

University of Michigan - Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Kathleen M. Sutcliffe

University of Michigan - Stephen M. Ross School of Business; Johns Hopkins University

Date Written: November 1, 2010

Abstract

Medical error has reached epidemic proportions, and researchers have developed insufficiently sophisticated models of safety culture to match the complexity of the challenge of safety in health care. This has left providers and researchers with an inadequate conceptual toolkit for improving safety. To rectify the resulting crisis we consolidate fragments of management research into a comprehensive and integrative framework of how patient safety is produced and sustained through safety culture. Safety culture involves actions that single out and focus safety-relevant premises and cultural practices that reduce harm. This entails (a) enabling, which consolidates the premises for a safety culture; (b) enacting, which translates consolidated premises into concrete practices that prioritize safety; and (c) elaborating, which enlarges and refines the consolidation and translation. We close by discussing the implications of our framework for future research on key issues such as efficiency-safety trade-offs, interactions among components of the framework and feedback loops.

Suggested Citation

Vogus, Timothy J. and Weick, Karl E. and Sutcliffe, Kathleen M., Doing No Harm: Enabling, Enacting, and Elaborating a Culture of Safety in Health Care (November 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1904620 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1904620

Timothy J. Vogus (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management ( email )

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Karl E. Weick

University of Michigan - Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

Kathleen M. Sutcliffe

University of Michigan - Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

Johns Hopkins University ( email )

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