Abstract

Purpose

Organisations within healthcare increasingly operate in rapidly changing environments and present wide variation in performance. It can be argued that this variation is influenced by the capability of an organisation to improve: its improvement capability. However, there is little theoretical research on improvement capability. The purpose of this paper is to set out the current diverse body of research on improvement capability and develop a theoretically informed conceptual framework.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper conceptualises improvement capability as a dynamic capability. This suggests that improvement capability is comprised of organisational routines that are bundled together, and adapt and react to organisational circumstances. Existing research conceptualises these bundles as three elements (microfoundations): sensing, seizing and reconfiguring. This conceptualisation is used to explore how improvement capability can be understood, by inductively categorising eight dimensions of improvement capability to develop a theoretically informed conceptual framework.

Findings

This paper shows that the three microfoundations which make up a dynamic capability are present in the identified improvement capability dimensions. This theoretically based conceptual framework provides a rich explanation of how improvement capability can be configured.

Citation

Furnival, J.Boaden, R. and Walshe, K. (2019), "A dynamic capabilities view of improvement capability", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 33 No. 7/8, pp. 821-834. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-11-2018-0342

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