Team safety and innovation by learning from errors in long-term care settings

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Team safety and team innovation are underexplored in the context of long-term care. Understanding the issues requires attention to how teams cope with error. Team managers could have an important role in developing a team's error orientation and managing team membership instabilities. Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the impact of team member stability, team coaching, and a team's error orientation on team safety and innovation. Methodology: A cross-sectional survey method was employed within 2 long-term care organizations. Team members and team managers received a survey that measured safety and innovation. Team members assessed member stability, team coaching, and team error orientation (i.e., problem-solving and blaming approach). The final sample included 933 respondents from 152 teams. Findings: Stable teams and teams with managers who take on the role of coach are more likely to adopt a problem-solving approach and less likely to adopt a blaming approach toward errors. Both error orientations are related to team member ratings of safety and innovation, but only the blaming approach is (negatively) related to manager ratings of innovation. Differences between members' and managers' ratings of safety are greater in teams with relatively high scores for the blaming approach and relatively low scores for the problem-solving approach. Team coaching was found to be positively related to innovation, especially in unstable teams. Practical Implications: Long-term care organizations that wish to enhance team safety and innovation should encourage a problem-solving approach and discourage a blaming approach. Team managers can play a crucial role in this by coaching team members to see errors as sources of learning and improvement and ensuring that individuals will not be blamed for errors. Copyright
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-291
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Care Management Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-05-63-01 Management


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