Ten years after: Interference of hospital slack in process performance benefits of quality practices

Susan Meyer Goldstein, Albena R. Iossifova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We investigate the long-term relationship between an organization's quality management practices and process-level performance. Further, we examine whether availability of organizational slack over the study interval interferes with the relationship between quality practices and process performance. Organizational slack consists of the available and accessible resources in an organization; we focus here on unabsorbed slack in the form of financial resources. We investigate the quality practices of U.S. general acute care hospitals, measured by their depth of implementation of practices characterizing a total quality management system, and use them to predict process performance related to four medical conditions. Analysis reveals differing effects that are dependent on hospital slack conditions. In hospitals with high slack, quality practices significantly predict three of four studied process performance measures. In contrast, in hospitals with low slack, quality practices predict only one of the four process performance measures, while other factors outweigh the effects of quality practices. This study lends support to management taking a long-term perspective related to implementation of quality management systems, and highlights the relevance of slack conditions in garnering the benefits of such systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-54
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Health care industry
  • Organizational slack
  • Quality management
  • Regression


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