Towards developing a comprehensive conceptual understanding of positive hospital culture and approaches to healthcare organisational culture change in Australia

Antoinette Pavithra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The key aim of this narrative literature review, therefore, is to identify the key conceptual categories that inform the construction of positive person-centred culture within hospitals, and how these frameworks are brought to bear upon organisational culture within healthcare systems in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach - This narrative review presents a thematic synthesis of literature identified through a systematic search protocol undertaken across 19 academic databases and Google Scholar as an additional search tool. Thematic qualitative analysis was performed on the research results to determine the common themes within the diverse literature presented within this study.

Findings - Culture change interventions in hospitals attempt to address the problem of widespread unprofessional behaviour within healthcare systems. However, diverse definitions and seemingly fragmented approaches to understanding and enacting organisational culture change present a significant hurdle in achieving cohesive and sustainable healthcare reform. This narrative literature review offers a comprehensive conceptual view of the key approaches that inform positive person-centred culture within hospital settings. In total, three primary dimensions, belonging, behaving and being, aligned against organisational goals, individual behaviours and worker as well as organisational identity were identified. Other individual and group interactional dynamics that give rise to negative organisational culture are further analysed to understand the fault lines along which existing culture change interventions are typically operationalised.

Research limitations/implications - This review is not exhaustive and is limited in its methodological scope. The central values and themes identified within the literature are integral to designing humanised healthcare systems. However, owing to the qualitative nature and contextual variability of these factors, these themes do not lend themselves to replicable quantification.

Social implications - This analysis contributes to foundational research efforts towards transforming healthcare practice to be more aligned with humanised and equitable values within increasingly complex healthcare organisational settings. Designing culture change interventions that align more suitably with the values-driven categories identified in this literature review may increase the effectiveness and sustainability of these interventions and reform efforts at organisational and systemic levels.

Originality/value - This article presents a comprehensive framework to approach healthcare organisational reform through shared and equitable models of operation, management and governance rather than continuing to promote narrowly defined outcomes derived from commodified models of healthcare practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-120
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Health, Organisation and Management
Issue number1
Early online date13 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2022


  • organisational culture
  • culture change
  • healthcare workers
  • Intervention
  • values-driven organisation
  • Hospital management
  • unprofessional behaviour
  • healthcare systems


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