From words to action: visibility of management in supporting interdisciplinary team working in an acute rehabilitative geriatric hospital

Sandra C. Buttigieg, Vincent Cassar, Judith Scully

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The following case study aims to explore management's, health professionals' and patients' experiences on the extent to which there is visibility of management support in achieving effective interdisciplinary team working, which is explicitly declared in the mission statement of a 60-bed acute rehabilitative geriatric hospital in Malta. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 21 semi-structured interviews were conducted with the above-mentioned key stakeholders. Findings: Three main distinct yet interdependent themes emerged as a result of thematic analysis: "managing a team-friendly hospital", "interdisciplinary team components", and "interdisciplinary team processes". The findings show that visibility of management support and its alignment with the process and content levels of interdisciplinary teamwork are key to integrated care for acute rehabilitative geriatric patients. Research limitations/implications: The emerging phenomena may not be reproducible in a different context; although many of the emerging themes could be comfortably matched with the existing literature. Practical implications: The implications are geared towards raising the consciousness and conscientiousness of good practice in interdisciplinary teamwork in hospitals, as well as in emphasizing organizational and management support as crucial factors for team-based organizations. Social implications: Interdisciplinary teamwork in acute rehabilitative geriatrics provides optimal quality and integrated health care delivery with the aim that the older persons are successfully discharged back to the community. Originality/value: The authors draw on solid theoretical frameworks - the complexity theory, team effectiveness model and the social identity theory - to support their major finding, namely the alignment of organizational and management support with intra-team factors at the process and content level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-645
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Health Organization and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2013


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