The impact of operational disruptions on performance in surgical settings: moderating roles of risk management infrastructure and information exchange

David Dreyfus, Anand Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Drawing on normal accident and high-reliability organizational theories, this study examines the impact of magnitude and likelihood of disruptions on surgical procedure performance. More importantly, the authors investigate the moderating role played by information exchange and risk management infrastructure in mitigating the negative effect of disruption on performance. Design/methodology/approach: A nationwide multi-respondent survey was administered to operating room personnel to collect information on their experiences with disruptions experienced in surgeries. The survey data are analyzed to examine the relationship between operational disruptions and procedure performance. Additionally, the moderating roles of risk management infrastructure and information exchange on the relationship between disruptions and performance are investigated. The results obtained from the empirical analysis are validated using data from an ethnographic investigation of surgeries at a major hospital. Findings: The results show that both the magnitude and the likelihood of a disruption adversely impact procedure performance. Interestingly, the authors find that risk management infrastructure and information exchange play different roles in mitigating the effect of disruptions on performance. The authors find that while risk management infrastructure helps mitigate the effect of magnitude of service disruptions, information exchange helps reduce the effects of likelihood of disruptions. The findings lend strong support to the theoretical assertions. By means of the participant–observer data collected from over 100 surgeries as part of the ethnographic investigation, the authors validate the key findings. The findings suggest that disruptions are common occurrences in surgical settings, but their performance impact may be lessened or altogether avoided with the proper information and risk management mechanisms in place. Originality/value: This survey research extends the understanding of risk management by considering a context that is highly prone to disruptions. The authors adopt existing constructs pertaining to supply chain disruptions within this context and find new insights. The findings of the study show differential roles played by information exchange and risk management infrastructure in mitigating disruptions. This nuanced understanding provides directions for aligning efforts towards risk mitigation in surgical settings in a more focused way. This study supplements findings from survey data analysis with an examination of data collected by means of ethnographic investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)930-958
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Volume42
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 28 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Keywords

  • Empirical methods
  • Information exchange
  • Operational disruptions
  • Risk management infrastructure

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