| Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings
Designed for Workarounds: A Qualitative Study of Hospitals' Internal Supply Chains
We examine the internal supply chains at two service organizations to discover the source of disruptions that erode employees' efficiency. Through in-depth qualitative research, including observations and interviews of over 80 individuals from 6 service delivery units and 8 support departments that provide them with equipment and supplies, we find that a lack of interconnectedness among interdependent departments-rather than errors or execution issues-leads to disruptions in the internal supply chains. We develop the concept of interconnectedness as four conditions of an internal supply chain: a focus on system-rather than individual department-performance; routines within departments that are connected to current customers' needs; deliberate knowledge translation across departmental boundaries to enable efficient response; and an infrastructure for daily management and continuous improvement of the chain's performance. Furthermore, we find that employees on the service delivery unit spent 12% of their day compensating for internal supply chain problems, which is a disproportionate amount of time compared to the support departments. We suggest that the burden of compensating for the disconnected internal supply chains fell to the service providers because they were the only department that had both the ability to translate customer orders into requirements for materials and the responsibility for securing these materials.
Keywords: Service Delivery;
Tucker, A., C. Folck, W. S. Heisler, and L. Janisse. "Designed for Workarounds: A Qualitative Study of Hospitals' Internal Supply Chains." Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings (2012).