Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UK's National Health Service: Committed to failure?

Date:
June 24, 2014
Source:
SAGE Publications
Summary:
A project has failed. So why continue to invest in it? This is a pertinent question for large organizations, like the UK National Health Service, which has a history of investing vast amounts of taxpayer's money into unrealistic and ultimately unsuccessful projects. According to business experts, organizations develop blind spots due to a perfect storm of unworkable policies and defensive behavior.

A project has failed. So why continue to invest in it? This is a pertinent question for large organisations, like the UK National Health Service, which has a history of investing vast amounts of taxpayer's money into unrealistic and ultimately unsuccessful projects. According to business experts, organisations develop blind spots due to a perfect storm of unworkable policies and defensive behaviour. In fact, organisations and individuals have a few things in common, psychologically speaking, when it comes to throwing good money after bad, the experts say.

Related Articles


The National IT Programme for the NHS, Individualised Patient Choices and Mental Health Services Reform are three costly examples of the NHS failing to quit while it was ahead, according to Marianna Fotaki, Professor of Business Ethics at the University of Warwick, and Paula Hyde, Professor of Organisation studies at Durham University. Using these case studies along with a novel, social-psychological approach, they delve into the underlying, institutional reasons for escalating commitment in the face of failure in their paper, "Organizational blind spots: Splitting, blame and idealization in the National Health Service," recently published in the journal Human Relations, published by SAGE.

Unconscious social demands -- for example, the expectation that a well-run health service can prevent disease or death -- often underpin unrealistic policies. The very fact that society expects organisations to address large and intractable problems like this means that failure is inevitable. But, the policies themselves demand that organisations will remain committed. Escalation of commitment is socially embedded, the authors say. But behaviours driving escalation goes beyond 'impression management,' or the need to look good. Unconscious factors are at play, which are as much about upholding the ideal for others as for oneself.

The authors demonstrate that there are certain groups within the organisations (e.g. clinicians or patients) who are often painfully aware of the difficulties. However, when their voices are cut off through splitting and blame, their input may not be heard or acted upon. Splitting in the system (mostly between policy and its implementation) enables idealization of the task. This becomes an aspirational grand project, causing organisations to abandon the very task they have been created to fulfil.

"An important implication of our contribution concerns the inability of power holders and/or policy makers to recognize the origins of blind spots in overly ambitious policies, as well as their own emotional investment in these policies," according to Fotaki. "There is enormous pressure to demonstrate success, often fed by public scrutiny. Such intensification of commitment to a chosen course of action, driven by a desire to avoid humiliation associated with failure, may lead to greater and greater material losses."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Fotaki, P. Hyde. Organizational blind spots: Splitting, blame and idealization in the National Health Service. Human Relations, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0018726714530012

Cite This Page:

SAGE Publications. "UK's National Health Service: Committed to failure?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140624110607.htm>.
SAGE Publications. (2014, June 24). UK's National Health Service: Committed to failure?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140624110607.htm
SAGE Publications. "UK's National Health Service: Committed to failure?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140624110607.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins