Management Professor presents research to NHS employers

The School of Management’s Stephen Wood, Professor of Management, speaking at the NHS Employers Autumn Workforce Summit at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, on 13 October, stressed that employee involvement can simultaneously improve both patient outcomes and efficiency in the NHS.

He highlighted that there is strong evidence for the claim that direct employee involvement can have beneficial effects for organisational performance. His own research covering the whole economy shows that both good job design which gives employees’ discretion over key aspects of their jobs, and forms of organisational forms of involvement, such as team working, idea capturing schemes, problem-solving groups and information sharing, have a positive effect on both productivity and quality of products and service delivery. The average level of both types of involvement was also found to be higher in workplaces in the health sector (and also business services) than other industrial sectors.

Organisational involvement, if designed correctly, is likely to increase shared understandings, individual and group creativity and collaboration across the organisation. Recent initiatives in the NHS, such as Listening in Action, are designed to achieve this and illustrate the importance of training for organisational involvement which includes techniques to improve situational awareness or creative thinking. Organisational involvement is thus more than simply enhancing people's energy and motivational levels, the focus of the current vogue for staff engagement, but requires developing their cognitive capabilities.