Thursday, July 22, 2004
This presentation is part of : Culture in Organizational Nursing
A Critical Review of the Organizational Culture Literature in Nursing
Shannon D. Scott-Findlay, RN, MN, Faculty of Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Learning Objective #1: Understand the conceptual ambiguity inherent within the organizational culture research
Learning Objective #2: Understand that this conceptual ambiguity has hindered scholarly development in this field of research, and recommendations will be made to overcome the current ambiguity

Nursing scholars have come to accept that the context in which nursing practice occurs affects patient and organizational outcomes. Yet, little research has been conducted to fully understand the influence of the organizational context on these outcomes. Organizational culture, an important variable of organizational context, is not well understood. Nonetheless, it appears to be an important predictor in the pursuit of attaining the transfer of research into practice. However, the nursing literature has been unable to provide specific detail as to how and why organizational culture is important. In order to begin to understand the concept of organizational culture and to begin to unearth its significance in the move towards research-based practice a critical review of the organizational culture literature in nursing was completed. This body of literature fell into three groups: 1) research about organizational culture; 2) opinion pieces and literature reviews on organizational culture; and 3) ethnographies. In this paper, the patterns and characteristics within this literature will be discussed. Trends that have emerged will be identified to determine future direction for research investigating the significance of organizational culture in the move toward research-based practice. The most important finding from this review was lack of conceptual clarity and terminology imprecision with the concept. A host of words, such as practice environment, corporate culture, and culture change have been used by researchers when doing work in this field. The lack of uniform terminology and conceptual clarity precludes scholarly advancement in the field. The results of the review indicate that the term, organizational culture, is widely understood and defined, however, the lack of conceptual clarity has diminished significant intellectual growth surrounding the concept. It is quickly apparent that only diminutive steps have been made to understand the importance of organizational culture in the implementation of research findings in clinical practice.

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Sigma Theta Tau International
July 22-24, 2004