The complexity of social practice : understanding inertia and change in maternity care organizations
conference contributionposted on 2008-01-01, 00:00 authored by K Reiger, Karen Lane, T Schofield, S Short
Beyond the limited efficiency and economy goals of neoliberal health policy lies the promise of genuine health services reform. In maternity care in particular, recent policy developments have sought to make the management of birth more ‘women-centred and family-friendly’. Interprofessional collaboration and greater consumer participation in policy and decision-making are key means to achieve this goal, but changing the entrenched system of medicalised birth remains difficult. Recent social contestation of maternity care has destabilised but not eradicated pervasive medical hegemony. Further reform requires analysis both of institutionalised patterns of power, and attention to the fluidity and situated knowledge shaping organisational and professional practices. Accordingly, this paper outlines a framework with which to explore the multi-layered social processes involved in implementing organisational and cultural change in maternity care. Analysis of social interventions in health systems, we suggest, can be advanced by drawing on strands from critical organization studies, complexity and critical discourse theories and social practice approaches.