A contingency perspective on team learning and innovation in nursing


O. Timmermans: e-mail: olaf.timmermans@ua.ac.be


timmermans o., van linge r., van petegem p., van rompaey b. & denekens j. (2012) A contingency perspective on team learning and innovation in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing69(2), 363–373. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2012.06014.x


Aims.  To report a correlational study of the relation between team learning activities and implementation-effectiveness of innovations in nursing teams.

Background.  Non-compliance to implementation of innovations is a problem in nursing teams. In the literature, team learning is proposed as a facilitator for change. Still, studies reporting the effects of team learning activities on the implementation of innovations in nursing teams are scarce. To address this gap in the literature, this study explored the influence of team learning on the implementation of two innovations.

Design.  A cross-sectional survey.

Methods.  The survey was conducted in 2008–2009 with a sample of 469 nurses, representing 30 nursing teams from The Netherlands and Belgium. The relationship between variables representing team learning and the use and the knowledge of an incremental (= 14) or a radical innovation (= 16) was examined by correlation and multiple regression analyses.

Results.  Correlation analyses revealed positive relationships between the team learning activities handling production-oriented information and implementation-effectiveness of an incremental innovation. In addition, team learning activities about development-oriented information positively affected the implementation of a radical innovation. Multiple regression yielded models that explain 83% of the variance on the use of an incremental variable, 73% on knowledge of a radical innovation, and 80% on use of a radical innovation.

Conclusion.  In nursing teams, team learning activities that relate to the production of nursing care affect the implementation of an incremental innovation. The implementation of a radical innovation is effected by team learning activities that relate to the development of the provided nursing care.