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An interdisciplinary theory of implementation, embedding and integration: the development of normalization process theory

May, Carl R., Mair, Frances, Finch, Tracy, MacFarlane, Anne, Dowrick, Christopher, Treweek, Shaun, Rapley, Tim, Ballini, Luciana, Ong, Bie Nio, Rogers, Anne, Murray, Elizabeth, Elwyn, Glyn, Legare, France, Gunn, Jane and Montori, Victor M. (2009) An interdisciplinary theory of implementation, embedding and integration: the development of normalization process theory Implementation Science, 4, (29) (doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-29). (PMID:2693517).

Record type: Article


Background: Theories are important tools in the social and natural sciences. The methods by which they are derived are rarely described and discussed. Normalization Process Theory explains how new technologies, ways of acting, and ways of working become routinely embedded in everyday practice, and has applications in the study of implementation processes. This paper describes the process by which it was built.

Methods: Between 1998 and 2008, we developed a theory. We derived a set of empirical generalizations from analysis of data collected in qualitative studies of healthcare work and organization. We developed an applied theoretical model through analysis of empirical generalizations. Finally, we built a formal theory through a process of extension and implication analysis of the applied theoretical model.

Results: Each phase of theory development showed that the constructs of the theory did not conflict with each other, had explanatory power, and possessed sufficient robustness for formal testing. As the theory developed, its scope expanded from a set of observed regularities in data with procedural explanations, to an applied theoretical model, to a formal middle-range theory.

Conclusion: Normalization Process Theory has been developed through procedures that were properly sceptical and critical, and which were opened to review at each stage of development. The theory has been shown to merit formal testing.

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Published date: 21 May 2009


Local EPrints ID: 167283
PURE UUID: 54115dfd-a9d7-44e2-9a88-26c85d470648
ORCID for Carl R. May: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 11 Nov 2010 11:46
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:24

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Author: Carl R. May ORCID iD
Author: Frances Mair
Author: Tracy Finch
Author: Anne MacFarlane
Author: Christopher Dowrick
Author: Shaun Treweek
Author: Tim Rapley
Author: Luciana Ballini
Author: Bie Nio Ong
Author: Anne Rogers
Author: Elizabeth Murray
Author: Glyn Elwyn
Author: France Legare
Author: Jane Gunn
Author: Victor M. Montori

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