Purpose: To begin a process of understanding how palliative care organisations are configured to enable innovative multidisciplinary patient care teams and their management in an uncertain, complex and dynamic environment. Design/methodology/approach: A range of literature was reviewed to suggest configuration and characteristics that were tested using semi-structured interviews with the senior medical staff member at each of three Australian case study organisations. Data gathered from these interviews was supplemented with data gathered from semi-structured interviews with multidisciplinary management teams and patient care teams dealing with inpatients and home-care patients. Findings: A hybrid configuration is suggested, based on Mintzberg's typology of organisations. Responses from interviews modify some characteristics of the suggested configuration, though generally appearing to support it. Characteristics of the external and internal environments are described. Research limitations/implications: Palliative care is rarely written off outside the healthcare literature and comparatively infrequently within it. Configuration is used to suggest the characteristics of innovative teams in an uncertain, dynamic, complex environment. The use and management of multidisciplinary patient care teams in palliative care offers interesting insights for a broad range of organisations. Practical implications: A contribution to the discourse on the relationship between configuration and innovation based in organisations without commercial imperative, delivering multi-level care for and by people involved in the end-of-life process. Originality/value: The paper continues a line of publications, beginning in 2002, describing the management of innovation in multidisciplinary palliative care teams. The originality and value of this paper and this line of research is in taking a management view of a unique environment that offers insights and lessons to a broad range of organisations.
European Journal of Innovation Management Vol. 8, Issue 2, p. 205-226