Nonlinearity as a tool for business process reengineering
In today's competitive business environment, organizations are being challenged to improve performance by improving processes, minimizing costs, and increasing output. Such changes can only be made by looking beyond traditional management systems. Continuous improvement (CI) and total quality management (TQM) have been the focus of recent quality improvement initiatives. However, in many ways, the results have not been as dramatic as desired. Business process reengineering (BPR) focuses on innovation and creativity in redesigning processes in an effort to meet customers' needs and expectations. Experience using nonlinear systems theory in applied health care settings has revealed that nonlinear science does offer a practical new frame of reference for BPR initiatives. This article describes why radically different approaches are necessary to sustain continued quality improvement, provides the key practical insights offered by nonlinear systems theory, and provides a clinical example of multidimensional thinking as applied in an acute care setting.
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