Implementation of Evidence-Based Practice and Organizational Performance

Regular Article


Administrators of mental health services may expect evidence-based practice (EBP) to offer strategic benefits. Existing theory suggests that the benefits of implementing EBP vary by organizational characteristics. This paper presents a conceptual framework for considering how implementation impacts organizational performance. The framework is developed as a system dynamics simulation model based on existing literature, organizational theory, and key informant interviews with mental health services administrators and clinical directors. Results from the simulations show how gains in performance depended on organizations’ initial inertia and initial efficiency and that only the most efficient organizations may see benefits in organizational performance from implementing EBP. Implications for administrators, policy makers, and services researchers are discussed.


innovation implementation evidence-based practice organizational performance mental health system dynamics simulation 



We would like to thank the reviewers and Dr. Enola Proctor for their helpful comments. The key informant interviews were collected and analyzed in the Diffusion of Innovative Practices pilot study under the direction of Peter S. Hovmand and Enola Proctor. The pilot study and preparation of this manuscript were partially supported by the Center for Mental Health Services Research, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University; through an award from the National Institute of Mental Health (P30 MH068579). Continuation of this work is supported by the National Science Foundation (SES-0724577).


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Copyright information

© National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.George Warren Brown School of Social WorkWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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