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Interorg collaboration; From national strategizing to digital interconnectedness - a process study of the Norwegian health industry

Alternative title: Interorganisatorisk samhandlng; fra nasjonale strategier til digital samhandling - en prosess studie av norsk helsesektor

Awarded: NOK 0.62 mill.

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2020 - 2021

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Large, complex tasks and problems, often labelled as Grand challenges, can not be solved by the effort of a single action, person or organization. They demand collaboration across disciplines, established structures and organizations. This research project focus on a) how national strategies entails needed collaboration across multiple partners and b) how this collaboration actually is conducted and take place, and last c) the effect of collaboration according to the mutual goal. In addition to study the practice of collaboration, this research will also enhance knowledge on how digital solutions may function for the purpose of improving collaboration. Relevant examples could be climate challenges, large health issues. Poverty, discrimination and racisms. This study will focus explicitly on how the health sector, and in particular Healthcare communities, collaborate when tackling grand challenges, like patients that are chronically ill, elderly, mental health and addiction, or pandemics lik Covid-19. The point of departure for this study is the national strategies that guide the priorities for specialist- and primary healthcare accordingly. A core demand is to organize patient centered health services and provide for a seamless patient path. This require high quality inter-organizational collaboration among multiple disciplines and services. Studien inngår som selvstendig bidrag i et internasjonalt comparativt casestudie under ledelse av Prof Jody Hoffer Gittell, Brandeis Univ. Her vil funn vedrørende utvikling av relasjonelle praksiser ved håndtering av store, samfunnsmessige helseutfordringer sammenstilles med funn fra ytterligere 8 kontekster i hhv Kina, Pakistan, Nigeria, UK, Danmark og USA. Etter komparativ fase går studien over i ekperimentell fase der effekt av intervensjoner utviklet på grunnlag av funn i komparativ fase, testes. This study is an independent contribution to an international comparative case study (Relational Society project) led by Prof Jody Hoffer Gittell at Brandeis Univ. Findings from 9 different sites (China, Pakistan, Nigeria, UK, USA; Denmark and Norway) concerning development of relational practices when tackling grand societal challenges, will be compared for the purpose of making a valuable contribution to the field. Relational Society Project is a 2 phase study where; based on the findings in the comparative case study, interventions and measurements are developed, as well as methods to assess effect on outcomes due to the interventions. The study has mixed method design, where primarily qualitative research methods are applied in the first phase, and quantitative approaches, ie measuring level of relational coordination, are applied in the second phase.

Limited research has been done on how public sector organizations change, innovate and collaborate in order to tackle grand challenges. This research project is a response to a call concerning the need for more knowledge about inter-organizational learning and -collaboration between specialist- and primary health care. The need for improving seamless, patient centred healthcare – in a cost effective way - pushes forward innovation of products and services. A key element is how (new) technology enables inter-organizational collaboration for improved and seamless patient centred care. The primary objective addresses how public sector organizations may increase their ability to continuously change and innovate in the context of inter-organizational learning and collaboration, in general and i particular in tackling grand challenges. Research has documented that psychological safety underpin learning and performative processes in teams. Some of this work have also focused on how leadership can moderate a culture of psychological safety in stable and in dynamic teams. Less, if any, research has been conducted on how psychological safety underpins inter-organizational learning and collaboration. A secondary objective is to learn more about how psychological safety support inter-organizational collaboration. Through analytical generalization, insights from the project can be relevant also for other domains. The choice of case and research question will guide the research design. At present time, the corona crisis have actualized every aspect of this research project; Covid -19 is a global, grand challenge which is depended upon inter-organizational collaboration at national, regional and local level. The research questions are processual formulated. A process study approach will provide perspectives that can capture important and novel aspects of inter-organizational collaboration, knowledge creation and -sharing when tackling a grand challenge such as the Corona crisis.