Title: Continuous innovation through lean thinking in healthcare: the role of dynamic actor associations

Authors: Thanos Papadopoulos

Addresses: Hull University Business School, University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK

Abstract: This paper focuses on continuous innovation in healthcare examining the implementation of lean thinking in the English National Health Service(NHS). Using interviews and non-participant observations, this study focuses on the dynamics of actor associations as they are manifested in the efficiency innovations in specimen turnaround times in a pathology unit of an NHS hospital, under actor-network theory principles. We illustrate the emergence of continuous innovation as an actor-network, which is responsible for creating the necessary conditions and behavioural changes for continuous innovation. Furthermore, we explicate the mechanism of translation to represent the 'glue' that keeps the corresponding actors together, contributing to the success of lean in the hospital and subsequently continuous innovation.

Keywords: lean thinking; dynamics; translation; actor-network theory; ANT; healthcare; actor associations; National Health Service; NHS; England; UK; United Kingdom; efficiency innovations; turnaround times; pathology units; hospitals; behavioural changes; technology management; continuous innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2012.049442

International Journal of Technology Management, 2012 Vol.60 No.3/4, pp.266 - 280

Published online: 06 Apr 2013 *

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