In health service policy the term ‘culture’ is gaining prominence. Some of this policy literature indicates that culture can be managed. Yet this view is controversial within organisational studies. Much of the latest policy literature seems unaware of such debates. Does the new-found topicality of organisational culture indicate political fad or policy development? If the latter, what are the methodological implications for health service research (HSR)? There is a substantive literature on organisational culture that needs to be accessed by policy makers. Some of these ideas have been operationalised through an organisational ethnography of an NHS innovation in the treatment of severe personality disorder.
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