Professionals in healthcare organisations who seek to enhance safety and quality in an increasingly demanding industry environment often identify culture as a barrier to change. The cultural focus on individual autonomy, for example, seems to conflict with desired norms of teamwork, problem reporting, and learning. We offer a definition and explication of why culture is important to change efforts. A cultural analysis of health care suggests professional values that can be redirected to support change. We offer examples of organisations that drew upon cultural strengths to create new ways of working and gradually shifted the culture.
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