Mar 27, 2018

eNewsletter Article: Just Culture, De-Mystified

While it is increasingly trendy for leaders of large companies and organizations to say they have a just culture, the Minneapolis-based solutions firm Outcome Engenuity, who created the Just Culture Algorithm™, have found that most leaders do not have an in-depth knowledge of the concept, and that the true nature and impact of just culture is not well-understood by senior executives across most industries and sectors.

What really is Just Culture?

Just culture is an organizational concept that is designed to bring about a more open and fair culture within an organization or company. The just culture framework places less focus on events, errors and outcomes, and more focus on risk, system design and the management of behavioural choices, within an active learning system.  When an employee does not meet expectations, it provides a justice system that is neither punitive nor blame free.  Instead, a just culture organization has a system of shared accountability between employees and leaders.

Just culture also refers to a values-supportive system wherein both leaders and employees are accountable, in different ways, for their roles in the system. Leaders are accountable for designing effective systems and for responding to the behaviour of their employees in a fair and just manner. In turn, employees are accountable for their actions and behaviour, as part of those systems. 

Outcome Engenuity’s Approach

To help organizations establish a just culture, Outcome Engenuity has developed a range of tools. These include the Just Culture Algorithm™ and a Just Culture Certification Course as well as a suite of complementary online courses and tools including the Just Culture Assessment Tool and the Just Culture Academy™.

The Just Culture Algorithm™ is a framework that has been used to achieve both justice and accountability across industries worldwide. As a decision-making aid that is grounded in systems engineering, human factors and law, it helps managers – particularly those with very analytical or clinical backgrounds – make better sense of the behaviour they see within their teams and understand how best to address it.

Through the available tools and courses, leaders learn more about the notions of duty, breach, and consequence as well as the scientific, legal, and social basis for a more just culture.

With a more detailed understanding of the concept of just culture and how to apply it to organizational leadership, as well as operations and systems management, organizations can see tangible improvements.

According to David Marx, CEO of Outcome Engenuity, “organizations that have fully implemented a just culture benefit in many ways; we’ve seen a reduction in negative outcomes from errors, increased efficiency through ongoing learning, as well as core systems improvement. I’ve also seen a big improvement in team morale because expectations are clear, and people are treated more fairly. They are empowered to do their best in their position.”

Utilizing Just Culture to Benefit Patient Safety

To date, a limited number of healthcare institutions in Canada have invested in just culture training. Now, Outcome Engenuity has partnered with Saegis to bring the Just Culture Certification Course to hospitals and healthcare leaders nationwide.

“Just culture has become a cornerstone of American healthcare quality improvement. I’m confident the Just Culture Certification Course will provide lasting and positive results for Canadian hospitals, providers, patients, and families.” said David Marx, CEO of Outcome Engenuity.

“Offering the Just Culture Certification Course in Canada is an important initiative” added Dr. Tom Lloyd, Director, Saegis Safety Institute. “There is a clear relationship between organizational culture, productivity, team morale and patient safety. Through this partnership, we can enable more positive and effective cultures in healthcare environments across Canada, and ultimately contribute to a safer and more sustainable healthcare system.”

“Given Saegis’ commitment to safe care, we can think of no organization more capable of helping Canadian healthcare providers and institutions make this critical step forward.” concluded Mr. Marx.

For more information on the Just Culture Certification course, click here.

For more information on Outcome Engenuity, click here.

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