1. Helping teams deliver new models of care

How does behavioural science fit with organisational change?

Health and Social Care organisations in the UK are being asked to change at an unprecedented scale and pace. Success ultimately depends on whether individuals within teams change what they do and deliver the new models of care. Behavioural science can help shed light on why people might find change difficult and empower healthcare teams with tried and tested methods to make change happen.

Watch this animation to find out more about why taking a behavioural approach to workforce transformation can help teams change.

Why should we take a behavioural science approach?

Healthcare redesign, such as those happening as a result of the Five Year Forward View in England (NHS England 2014), involves complex changes in organisations. Success ultimately depends on individuals’ behaviour, such as whether a nurse does or doesn’t follow a newly agreed integrated pathway.

Vanguard leads are finding that stumbling blocks in implementing innovation often come down to difficulties changing team culture (the way things are done) and health professional practice, both of which are examples of problems with behaviour change. (see also our Briefing 1: What Does ‘Culture’ Mean for Teams Working in New Models of Care?)

Our research has found that often, there is a disconnect between high-level policy and practice: teams don’t understand what high-level changes mean they will need to do differently, day-to-day.

Teams also report that training, organisation intranet communications or other interventions aimed to help them change have limited impact. Behavioural science suggests this is because they may not be based on real-life influences on behaviour and weren’t co-developed with the teams who know best what would work for them.

Over a century, behavioural science has built knowledge on how to understand and measure the drivers of individual behaviour change and how to overcome barriers to change.

Managers, organisational development practitioners and team members who use a structured behavioural science approach can expect:

  • more engagement in change from teams
  • better team morale
  • a clearer understanding of barriers and facilitators to change and what can work to help

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