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Cardiff Health Organisation and Policy Studies

Cardiff Health Organisation and Policy Studies is a multi-disciplinary research group that aims to foster collaboration and innovation to produce healthcare research.

Cardiff Health Organisation and Policy Studies (CHOPs) is a multi-disciplinary research group that aims to foster collaboration and innovation to produce healthcare research relating to service organisation, delivery and improvement, in health and social care contexts.

Key research themes include:

  • service improvement and innovation, including starting, embedding and scaling-up initiatives
  • quality and safety
  • people management
  • process mapping and management
  • purchasing, procurement and supply chain management.

CHOPs disseminates its findings to national and international academic and practitioner audiences.

The group's mission is to explore dynamic healthcare system change through academic research that is rigorous, independent and relevant to advance societal knowledge and further inform leading edge health care practice.

Meet the team


Academic staff

'Baking the Cake': Ingredients for 'meaningful' social care innovation to support care leavers

Professor Graeme Currie, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 3 May 15:00-16:30, Room 0.25, Cardiff Business School Postgraduate Teaching Centre, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

The seminar presentation derives from the ESRC funded EXIT study (2019-2023) led by Graeme Currie. Its title captures its content; to identify the ingredients for 'meaningful' (it works for care leavers) social care innovation to support care leavers' transition into adulthood.

Within the study, we conceived innovation as a journey, examining ingredients across ideation, implementation, sustaining, and scale up of innovation. As such it represents a study of process, but which does identify how outcomes are measured influences the innovation journey. Other ingredients identified are receptiveness of setting for innovation (invokes culture and leadership), co-production, discrete identity of innovation, scope for translation of innovation as it scales up.

Graeme Currie is a Professor of Public Management at Warwick Business School and Senior Editor at Organization Studies. He currently leads three large scale research programmes:

  • ESRC EXIT Study focused upon innovation for care leavers
  • Department for Education What Works for SEND Service Improvement
  • NIHR Applied Research Centre West Midlands Implementation Research (focused upon driving evidence into practice to improve care for those with long-term conditions)

His work has been published in high impact journals across a range of disciplines, ranging from Academy of Management Journal, Human Resource Management and Journal of Management Studies, through Journal of Public Administration and Theory, to British Medical Journal. His gaining of research income and multidisciplinary publications are above all linked to his desire to carry out research that impacts health and social care delivery to vulnerable populations.

Past events

Lost in transition? Unravelling career advancement in emergent hybrid roles

Professor Julie Davies, University College London, and Dr Karen Shawhan, University of Manchester

Thursday 26 January 14:30-16:00, Aberconway Suite (Room T23), Cardiff Business School, Aberconway Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

Transitions between jobs are common experiences with important consequences for people’s lives. The impact of creating new types of hybrid roles in the public sector which span multiple professions are not well understood.

In this three-year study using focus groups, we analysed the experiences of 36 trainee advanced clinical practitioners (ACPs) to examine the effects of public policies which are intended to address nursing and medical workforce shortages by creating new kinds of roles for non-medical prescribing clinicians.

We investigated change trajectories during the transitions of trainee ACPs. We found that several ACPs felt highly valued as intermediaries between different occupational groups and those towards the end of their careers who had wished to retire in palliative care settings felt liberated in their new roles. Some individuals, however, in acute settings tended to feel trapped as substitutes for junior doctors and misunderstood while ACPs in primary care felt most vulnerable in practising beyond their licence.

We found that older and more experienced secondary care nurses had higher levels of confidence and satisfaction in hybrid roles than individuals who were less used to working in multi-disciplinary teams and hospital settings. Our findings illustrate the phenomenon of permanent liminality as ACPs act as go-betweens and never fully transition from one traditional professional identity to another emergent hybrid identity.

These findings point to dynamic relationships between public sector workforce policies, inter-occupational transitions, and career satisfaction. They raise important questions about creating enhanced roles to integrate professional services in a context of public sector pay restrictions and chronic essential workforce retention and recruitment challenges.

CHOPS Early Career Network launch event

The new CHOPS Early Career Network was launched on Friday 30 April 2021. The aim of this initiative is to provide early career researchers with a space to find and talk to people at a similar stage of their research journey, with a mutual interest in research relating to organisation, delivery and improvement in health and social care contexts.

This first event brought us together to hear about one another’s research and to talk about major challenges early career researchers are currently facing. We set in motion an ongoing ‘buddying’ activity, called ‘walk and talk’. The idea is to have the opportunity to get to know one another, and each other’s research, better than may be possible within a restricted amount of time in a breakout room.

Thanks go to Professor Martin Kitchener (Cardiff Business School) and Professor Donald Forrester (School of Social Sciences) for leading the discussion session, and to all the early career and PhD researchers who joined us from across different schools and universities.

Future events will be announced via the main CHOPS mailing list and the Early Career Teams group page. If you or your organisation would like to get involved, please email Tracey Rosell or

Employment Relations in the Healthcare Setting: Lessons COVID-19 Taught Us that we Already Knew

Dr Ariel Avgar, ILR School, Cornell University

Wednesday 28 April 2021, 15:30-16:30


The COVID 19 pandemic has brought into clear focus the importance of frontline healthcare providers, including low-wage workers. Celebrated as essential workers, the pandemic has demonstrated the centrality of a workforce that is far too often invisible to policy makers and practitioners. As such, this crisis provides an opportunity to amplify existing employment relations research regarding the link between conditions in which frontline workers are employed and the delivery of high quality patient care.

This presentation will provide an overview of research conducted on the role that employment relations play in the healthcare industry. In particular, I will discuss findings from a number of studies that document the relationship between different workplace practices and outcomes for patients, workers, and healthcare organizations. Thus for example, the presentation will focus on the implication associated with specific work practices for the adoption of health information technology (HIT).

In addition, I will present findings from a study that examines the consequences associated with outsourcing of hospital cleaners. Taken together, the presentation will offer an overarching argument regarding the need to include employment relations factors in any effort to address longstanding challenges within the healthcare industry.

Why do some healthcare collaborations work when others do not?

Dr Justin Aunger and Dr Ross Millar, University of Birmingham

Wednesday 25 November 2020, 14:00-15:00


Improving the quality, efficiency, and sustainability of NHS provider organisations continues to be high on the agenda for policy makers and practitioners. In response to these challenges, particular interest and emphasis has been given to partnering and collaboration with a proliferation of inter-organisational forms including mergers, groups, networks, and buddying.

Research continues to document these developments, however, there have been limited attempts to understand how and why such partnerships might work, in what contexts, and whom they might benefit. Drawing on literature and interview evidence our realist synthesis examines how trust, conflict, leadership, faith, along with other factors shape the development and outcomes of different partnering arrangements.

By exploring these areas, the seminar will also encourage discussion about the difficulties and benefits of inter organisational collaboration for current and future healthcare agendas as the landscape moves towards greater service integration and responds to Covid-19.

If you were unable to attend, watch this recording of the event.

Advancing the study of virtuality: A leadership-as-practice research framework and illustration

Tracey Rosell, Cardiff University

Wednesday 4 November 2020, 14:00-15:00


While analysts of ‘virtuality’ in leadership have conceived a spectrum - ranging from traditional face-to-face arrangements at one end, to fully virtual relations at the other - its implications for leadership practice remain underexplored. Because the Covid-19 pandemic has produced a sudden push to reduce or stop teams working together in the same physical space, there is a pressing need to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the ‘virtual context’ of leadership.

This paper advances the study of the virtuality in leadership in two main ways. First, we extend the Leadership-As-Practice (L-A-P) literature to present a conceptual model that focuses on the relational aspects of virtual leadership. Second, drawing on recent interviews with surgeons from five hospitals, we apply our framework to examine their movement along the virtuality spectrum, a transition we term ‘virtualizing’.

Our analysis reveals two key dimensions: distancing and disruption. The conceptual and empirical outputs of this paper present a promising basis for investigating emerging virtual leadership practices across diverse contexts.

If you were unable to attend, watch this recording of the event.

The role of professional elites in healthcare governance: Exploring the work of the medical director

Lorelei Jones, Bangor University

Wednesday 14 October 2020, 14:00-15:00


Medical leaders occupy a prominent position in healthcare policy in many countries, both in terms of the governance of quality and safety within healthcare organisations, and in broader system-wide governance. There is evidence that having doctors on hospital boards is associated with higher quality services, what is not known is how they have this effect.

Analysing data collected from observations, interviews and documents from 15 healthcare providers in England (2014 -2019), we elaborate the role of medical directors in healthcare governance as ‘translation work’, ‘diplomatic work’, and ‘repair work’.

Our study highlights the often enduring emotional effects of repeated structural changes to clinical services. It also contributes to theories of professional restratification, showing the work of medical directors in regional healthcare politics, and as ‘corporate elites’ in publicly-funded healthcare systems.

If you were unable to attend, watch this recording of the event.

Related groups

Cardiff Health Organisation and Policy Studies has a core focus on selected research themes. However, a broader range of work relating to healthcare is conducted across Cardiff University.

Cardiff Unit for Research and Evaluation in Medical and Dental Education (CUREMeDE)

Led by Professor Alison Bullock, CUREMeDE conducts multidisciplinary research and evaluation of the education and training of health professionals. Our future healthcare professionals rely on excellent training led by the best educators. What makes the educational experience excellent needs further research.


DECIPHer is the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement. DECIPHer brings together leading experts from a range of disciplines to tackle public health issues such as diet and nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco, alcohol and drugs, with a particular focus on developing and evaluating multi-level interventions that will have an impact on the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

Responsible Innovation Network

The Responsible Innovation Network (RIN) is a multi-stakeholder and interdisciplinary network designed to encourage collaborative research between Cardiff University’s academics and external constituents. The aim of RIN is to promote the understanding, practice, and diffusion of responsible innovation in a variety of areas, including healthcare.

Wales Public Services 2025

The Wales Public Services 2025 programme is investigating the long-term financial, demographic and demand pressures confronting public services in Wales and possible responses. Hosted by Cardiff Business School and independent, the programme is a unique partnership between Cardiff University and five national bodies in Wales: the Welsh Local Government Association, SOLACE Wales, the Welsh NHS Confederation, the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and Community Housing Cymru.

Y Lab

Y lab are a team of social science and innovation experts working together to support innovation in Welsh public services. Established in 2015 Y Lab (Welsh for ‘The Lab’) is the Public Services Innovation Lab for Wales, a partnership between Cardiff University and Nesta.

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