Applying Research to Save Lives: Learning from Team Training Approaches in Aviation and Health Care
By Stephen Courtright, G.L. Stewart & M.M. Ward
Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 41, pp. 291-301
Evidence-based management, which has the basic objective of using research evidence to guide practice, has the potential to dramatically improve organizational effectiveness. However, just because certain management approaches are based on sound research evidence does not mean that they will automatically be implemented to improve organizational outcomes. Organizations often face significant barriers when attempting to implement evidence-based practices, contributing, in turn, to a significant gap between management research and practice. In this article we use illustrations from aviation and health care to identify five implementation barriers faced by organizations seeking to incorporate evidence-based management practices. We also discuss five solutions for overcoming these barriers. Specifically, we describe how evidence-based teamwork training has seen sustained implementation in aviation over the past two decades, resulting in dramatically improved passenger and crew safety. In contrast, results from semi-structured interviews we recently conducted with personnel at 23 hospitals illustrate that similar teamwork training has not yet yielded similarly positive results in health care. By comparing the relative barriers and implementation strategies associated with team training initiatives in aviation and health care, we provide insight about activities that can close the gap between research-based management knowledge and actual practice.