Empowerment: Error Management Through Cultural Change in Medicine

  • Jan S. BrommundtEmail author


This chapter illustrates that any error management system, its techniques and its structures need to be embedded in a broader error management culture in a hospital in the Netherlands. Non-innovative and overly hierarchical structures are incompatible with such a culture, and the empowerment of personnel traditionally in the lower echelons of hierarchical systems (nurses, air hostesses) is a necessary, efficient and cost-effective precondition and cornerstone for such a system.

Empowerment is the promise of greater responsibility and participation towards the individual employee. It was developed as a management concept during the 1980s and 1990s. Its modern origins lie in American community psychology.

In accordance with the author’s background, most examples and experiences described are from the medical field.


Mistake Error Failure Medical contexts Empowerment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Medical Centre Groningen, University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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