Background: Problems with organizational culture, lack of or poor team communications, and conflict are often seen as barriers to improvement efforts.
Methods: A survey measuring aspects of organizational culture was administered twice to staff in neonatal intensive care units participating in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Quality Improvement Collaborative Year 2000 collaborative. The surveys provided comparative data on coordination, teamwork and leadership, conflict management, unit leadership and unit culture. These data were summarized and fed back to NICU teams with guidance on their use. Interviews on the use of the survey were held with 12 medical directors and patient care leaders in 9 different NICUs.
Results: The findings indicated that all the units contacted saw themselves as committed to undertaking the organizational survey and using the results. Some units shared the data widely and initiated changes. Other units limited the distribution of data to the unit leadership. There was no apparent relationship between scores on the survey and activities undertaken. Several respondents credited the survey with helping to promote discussions about organizational and team issues.
Conclusions: Future use of the survey should include additional materials to assist in disseminating the results to staff.