Understanding childbirth practices as an organizational cultural phenomenon: a conceptual framework

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2013 Nov 11:13:205. doi: 10.1186/1471-2393-13-205.


Understanding the main values and beliefs that might promote humanized birth practices in the specialized hospitals requires articulating the theoretical knowledge of the social and cultural characteristics of the childbirth field and the relations between these and the institution. This paper aims to provide a conceptual framework allowing examination of childbirth practices through the lens of an organizational culture theory. A literature review performed to extrapolate the social and cultural factors contribute to birth practices and the factors likely overlap and mutually reinforce one another, instead of complying with the organizational culture of the birth place. The proposed conceptual framework in this paper examined childbirth patterns as an organizational cultural phenomenon in a highly specialized hospital, in Montreal, Canada. Allaire and Firsirotu's organizational culture theory served as a guide in the development of the framework. We discussed the application of our conceptual model in understanding the influences of organizational culture components in the humanization of birth practices in the highly specialized hospitals and explained how these components configure both the birth practice and women's choice in highly specialized hospitals. The proposed framework can be used as a tool for understanding the barriers and facilitating factors encountered birth practices in specialized hospitals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hospitals, Special*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Parturition*
  • Patient Participation
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Quebec
  • Women's Rights