The effect of power structures on practice transfers

The transfer of practices within organizations often does not proceed as planned. Scholars have customarily viewed unplanned deviations –or “performative deviations”—as undesirable or limiting, and more research has explored ways to reduce or overcome them.  But a new study of six practice transfers within an urban hospital system by Roopa Raman (Clemson) and Anandhi Bharadwaj, associate professor of information systems and operations management, finds that performative deviation in the transfer of practices may not necessarily be harmful for organizations.  It depends on the structure of power within the organization and whether the deviation is agency-based(marked by competing self-interests) or knowledge-based  (more collaborative). They find that knowledge-based deviations can actually be helpful to an organization. By focusing on the underexamined role of power differentials in their study, the researchers provide a more nuanced understanding of performative deviations in practice transfers. Organization Science (2012).

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