Towards the creation of learning improvement practices : Studies of pedagogical conditions when change is negotiated in contemporary healthcare practices

Sammanfattning: In the early 2010s, competitive market logic was introduced into healthcare systems so as to achieve rapid improvements. This took place as improvement policies began to emphasize the notion of collaboration as a method of ensuring patient safety across organizational boundaries. This thesis addresses how staff, in their practical improvement work, balance economic values, on the one hand, against meaningful solutions for the patient, on the other. The research interest focuses on the particular interpretations about improvements that emerge in negotiations about change. These interpretations are foundational to the learning that simultaneously takes place. The aim of the thesis is to analyse and explain the pedagogical conditions that take place in improvement practices in a healthcare system in the 2010s.The thesis takes its theoretical point of departure in a pedagogical theory that describes how contextual conditions influence learning processes in a specific practice where communication is foundational for learning. The thesis uses critical discourse analysis as a methodological point of departure and builds on a model of improvement work, namely, the clinical microsystem. The first study consists of a literature review of the microsystem framework. Subsequently, three case studies were conducted at Jönköping county council, Sweden. Discussions of improvements at clinical meetings and improvement coaches’ reflections over their pedagogical approaches provide the empirical data for the case studies.The findings show that market logic gives rise to a number of displacement effects with respect to learning processes. Short-term profits are shown to supersede goals of a more profound development of knowledge. The composition of an improvement practice is of critical importance to the nature of the negotiation that takes place, and thus how the practice comes to successfully challenge things that are taken for granted and the power structures that exist within the practice. Improvement coaches themselves become pedagogical prerequisites under the influence of the prevailing conditions, as they promote different learning organizations. This thesis develops the conceptual framework that is instantiated by the clinical microsystem, and it also contributes to the social constructionist field of improvement science by establishing pedagogical and discursive perspectives on improvement and change.