Purpose: This paper aims to investigate how health care accreditation surveyors enact their role with a view to identifying a surveyor styles typology.
Design/methodology/approach: This study was conducted in two phases. First, observational research was used to examine the conduct of a small survey team during the 2005 accreditation survey of a rural health service in Australia. The survey team was from the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), the major health care accreditation agency in Australia. Second, the emerging typology was reviewed by an expert panel of ACHS surveyors.
Findings: A typology comprising three unique surveyor styles is identified--interrogator; explorer; and discusser. Additionally, a further style, the questioner, is hypothesised. RESEARCH LIMITATION/IMPLICATIONS: The typology has application for development by accreditation agencies to be used with surveyors as a self-reflection tool to improve learning and development. The knowledge gained about surveyors' styles can be used to match more effectively survey teams to organisations seeking accreditation. Further research is necessary to confirm these styles and examine whether other styles are apparent.
Originality/value: This study is an important step in examining the conduct of surveyors and opening up health care accreditation surveyor inter-rater reliability for further investigation.