Using organization theory to position middle-level managers as agents of evidence-based practice implementation
Middle-level managers (MLMs; i.e., healthcare professionals who may fill roles including obtaining and diffusing information, adapting information and the intervention, mediating between strategy and day-to-day activities, and selling intervention implementation) have been identified as having significant influence on evidence-based practice (EBP) implementation. We argue that understanding whether and how MLMs influence EBP implementation is aided by drawing upon organization theory. Organization theories propose strategies for increasing MLMs’ opportunities to facilitate implementation by optimizing their appreciation of constructs which we argue have heretofore been treated separately to the detriment of understanding and facilitating implementation: EBPs, context, and implementation strategies. Specifically, organization theory encourages us to delineate different types of MLMs and consider how generalist and hybrid MLMs make different contributions to EBP implementation. Organization theories also suggest that MLMs’ understanding of context allows them to adapt EBPs to promote implementation and effectiveness; MLMs’ potential vertical linking pin role may be supported by increasing MLMs’ interactions with external environment, helping them to understand strategic pressures and opportunities; and how lateral connections among MLMs have the potential to optimize their contribution to EBP implementation as a collective force. We end with recommendations for practice and future research.
Birken, S. A., & Currie, G. (2021). Using organization theory to position middle-level managers as agents of evidence-based practice implementation. Implement Sci, 16(1), 37. doi:10.1186/s13012-021-01106-2