The needs for health system change and improved patient safety have been pointed out by policymakers, researchers, and managers for several decades. Patient safety is now widely accepted as being fundamental to all aspects of health care. The question motivating this special volume on patient safety is: How can the increased emphasis on patient safety among health care managers be more effectively translated into better policy and reduced clinical risk? The 12 contributions in this volume are divided into four sections: (1) theoretical perspectives on managing patient safety; (2) top management perspectives on patient safety; (3) health information technology (HIT) perspectives on patient safety; and (4) organizational behavior and change perspectives on patient safety. Patient safety is a topic that provides a fertile niche for management researchers to test existing theories and develop new ones. For example, the patient safety goals of reducing medical errors while maximizing health outcomes draws upon the tenets of evidence-based medicine (EBM), as well as the managerial theories of human relations, organizational culture, organizational development, organizational learning, organizational structure, quality improvement, and systems thinking. Indeed, these and other managerial theories are drawn upon and applied in different ways by the various contributors. Overall, the authors of this volume demonstrate that the future of patient safety for health care management requires health care professionals and managers who can successfully engage in multi-faceted projects that are socially and technically complex. © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited.