Worker attrition is a costly and operationally disruptive challenge throughout the world. Although large bodies of research have documented drivers of attrition and its operational consequences, managers still lack an integrated approach to understanding attrition and making decisions to address it on a forward-going basis.
We examine the impact of four classes of workplace interruptions on short-term (working hours) and long-term (across-shifts) worker performance in an agribusiness setting. The interruptions are organized in a two-by-two framework where they result (or do not result) in a physical task requirement and lead to a varying degree of attention shift from the primary task.
In many service operations, customers have repeated interactions with service providers. This creates two important questions for service design. First, how important is it to maintain the continuity of service for individuals? Second, since maintaining continuity is costly and, at times, operationally impractical for both the organization (due to potentially lower utilization) and providers (due to high effort required), should certain customer types, such as those with complex needs, be prioritized for continuity?
Hospital emergency departments (EDs) provide around-the-clock medical care and as such are generally modeled as nonterminating queues. However, from the care provider’s point of view, ED care is not a never-ending process, but rather occurs in discrete work shifts and may require passing unfinished work to the next care provider at the end of the shift.
Traditional models of operations management involve dynamic decision-making assuming optimal (Bayesian) updating. However, behavioral theory suggests that individuals exhibit bias in their beliefs and decisions. We conduct both a field study and two laboratory studies to examine the phenomena in the context of health. In particular, we examine how an individual’s prior experiences and the experiences of those around them alter the operational decisions that the individual makes.
Background: Influenza imposes heavy societal costs through healthcare expenditures, missed days of work, and numerous hospitalizations each year. Considering these costs, the healthcare and behavioral science literature offers suggestions on increasing demand for flu vaccinations. And yet, the adult flu vaccination rate fluctuated between 37% and 46% between 2010 and 2019.Aim: Although a demand-side approach represents one viable strategy, an operations management approach would also highlight the need to consider a supply-side approach. In this paper, we investigate how to improve clinic vaccination rates by altering provider behavior.
Our findings debunk the myth that a ‘continuous improvement culture’ will emerge amongst workers and staff that sustains improvement efforts. The root cause behind backsliding is that sustaining process improvement initiatives involves all levels of the organisation, and that leaders play a pivotal role herein they often neglect. We identify four common failure modes.
To scale service operations requires sharing knowledge across the organization. However, prior work highlights that individuals on the periphery of organizational knowledge sharing networks may struggle to access useful knowledge at work. A knowledge repository (KR) has the potential to help peripheral individuals gain access to valuable knowledge because it is universally available and can be used without social interaction.
Operational systems increasingly rely upon specialized experts who can provide high-quality service. However, these experts, by definition, only address one part of an overall problem and so individuals are needed to coordinate the overall service provision. In many services, this coordination responsibility may be shared across multiple parties serving in the role of a gatekeeper.
Work scheduling research typically prescribes task sequences implemented by managers. Yet employees often have discretion to deviate from their prescribed sequence. Using data from 2.4 million radiological diagnoses, we find that doctors prioritize similar tasks (batching) and those tasks they expect to complete faster (shortest expected processing time).
Determining how best to route work is a key element of service system design. Not surprisingly then, many analytical models have identified various optimal routing algorithms for service operations management. However, in many settings, humans make routing decisions dynamically, either because algorithms don't exist, decision support tools have not been implemented, or existing rules are not enforced.
For more than a year, researchers across the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC) Kenan-Flagler Business School (KFBS) and School of Medicine (SOM) worked with Sharecare, Inc. (Sharecare) to establish a framework for measuring the true value of corporate well-being interventions and develop a measurement tool to quantify their impact over time. The goal of the research was to assess the value of implementing corporate well-being interventions to improve employee health and lower direct medical costs to employers.
The staffing of parallel servers in a queue has interested operations researchers for decades, resulting in countless mathematical models studying queuing behavior. But to achieve tractability, these models typically assume the service rate and productivity of individual servers is independent of other servers and the status of the system. We question this assumption and consider whether inter-server dependence impacts queue performance, specifically through server task selection.
We evaluate the effects of two types of breaks (expected versus unexpected), and two distinct forms of unexpected breaks, and find that unexpected breaks can, under certain conditions, yield immediate post-break performance increases.
This trial will provide evidence on the impact of a behavioral intervention to implement huddles as a key component of team-based care models. Knowledge gained from this trial will be critical to broader deployment and successful implementation of team-based care models.
Across the globe, every workday people commute an average of 38 minutes each way, yet surprisingly little research has examined the implications of this daily routine for work-related outcomes. Integrating theories of boundary work, self-control, and work-family conflict, we propose that the commute to work serves as a liminal role transition between home and work roles, prompting employees to engage in boundary management strategies.
Empirical research in operations management has increased steadily over the last 20 years. In this paper, we discuss why this is good for our field and offer some comments on the qualities we admire in an empirical operations management paper.
In this paper, we build on research on the microfoundations of strategy and learning processes to study the individual underpinnings of organizational learning. We argue that once an individual has accumulated a certain amount of experience with a task, the benefit of accumulating additional experience is inferior to the benefit of deliberately articulating and codifying the experience accumulated in the past.
As the nature of work has become more service-oriented, knowledge-intensive, and rapidly changing, people—be they workers or customers—have become more central to operational processes and have impacted operational outcomes in novel and perhaps more fundamental ways. Research in people-centric operations (PCO) studies how people affect the performance of operational processes. In this OM Forum, we define PCO as an area of study, offer a categorization scheme to take stock of where the field has allocated its attention to date, and offer our thoughts on promising directions for future research.
How individuals manage, organize, and complete their tasks is central to operations management. Recent research in operations focuses on how under conditions of increasing workload individuals can increase their service time, up to a point, in order to complete work more quickly.