Quality management and perceptions of teamwork and safety climate in European hospitals

Solvejg Kristensen*, Antje Hammer, Paul Bartels, Rosa Suñol, Oliver Groene, Caroline A. Thompson, Onyebuchi A. Arah, Halina Kutaj-Wasikowska, Philippe Michel, Cordula Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to investigate the associations of quality management systems with teamwork and safety climate, and to describe and compare differences in perceptions of teamwork climate and safety climate among clinical leaders and frontline clinicians. Method: We used a multi-method, cross-sectional approach to collect survey data of quality management systems and perceived teamwork and safety climate. Our data analyses included descriptive and multilevel regression methods. Setting and Participants: Data on implementation of quality management system from seven European countrieswere evaluated including patient safety culture surveys from 3622 clinical leaders and 4903 frontline clinicians. Main Outcome Measures: Perceived teamwork and safety climate. Results: Teamwork climate was reported as positive by 67% of clinical leaders and 43% of frontline clinicians. Safety climate was perceived as positive by 54% of clinical leaders and 32% of frontline clinicians.We found positive associations between implementation of quality management systems and teamwork and safety climate. Conclusions: Our findings, which should be placed in a broader clinical quality improvement context, point to the importance of quality management systems as a supportive structural feature for promoting teamwork and safety climate. To gain a deeper understanding of this association, further qualitative and quantitative studies using longitudinally collected data are recommended. The study also confirms that more clinical leaders than frontline clinicians have a positive perception of teamwork and safety climate. Such differences should be accounted for in daily clinical practice and when tailoring initiatives to improve teamwork and safety climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-506
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical quality activities
  • Human factors
  • Patient safety
  • Quality management systems
  • Safety climate
  • Teamwork climate


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