Scoping literature review on the learning organisation concept as applied to the health system

E. Akhnif, J. Macq, M. O. Idrissi Fakhreddine, B. Meessen

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

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    There is growing interest in the use of the management concept of a 'learning organisation'. The objective of this review is to explore work undertaken towards the application of this concept to the health sector in general and to reach the goal of universal health coverage in particular. Of interest are the exploration of evaluation frameworks and their application in health.

    Method: We used a scoping literature review based on the York methodology. We conducted an online search using selected keywords on some of the main databases on health science, selected websites and main reference books on learning organisations. We restricted the focus of our search on sources in the English language only. Inclusive and exclusive criteria were applied to arrive at a final list of articles, from which information was extracted and then selected and inserted in a chart.

    Results: We identified 263 articles and other documents from our search. From these, 50 articles were selected for a full analysis and 27 articles were used for the summary. The majority of the articles concerned hospital settings (15 articles, 55%). Seven articles (25%) were related to the application of the concept to the health centre setting. Four articles discussed the application of the concept to the health system (14%). Most of the applications involved high-income countries (21 articles, 78%), with only one article being related to a low-income country. We found 13 different frameworks that were applied to different health organisations.

    Conclusions: The scoping review allowed us to assess applications of the learning organisation concept to the health sector to date. Such applications are still rare, but are increasingly being used. There is no uniform framework thus far, but convergence as for the dimensions that matter is increasing. Many methodological questions remain unanswered. We also identified a gap in terms of the use of this concept in low-and middleincome countries and to the health system as a whole.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number16
    JournalHealth Research Policy and Systems
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Learning organisation
    • Health
    • Health systems
    • Universal health coverage


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