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Health Care Diagnosis

Health care sector examined with the OCAI. Diagnosis: dissatisfied…

  • 05 March 2010
  • Posted by Marcella Bremer

What’s the diagnosis for the health care sector? The National Survey on Organizational Culture in Health Care in the Netherlands found that managers and professionals are dissatisfied with their organizational culture. This study, based on the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument, was carried out among 1,613 doctors, nurses, caretakers, managers, and boards of directors.
It turns out that more focus on people, market orientation, and innovation is urgently needed.

The current organizational culture emphasizes internal orientation: the health care sector appears preoccupied both with issues of internal governance and organization and professional matters.

Financial TotalThe friendly “clan culture” and the structured “hierarchy culture” score high marks on this survey. According to the Dutch sector, this situation needs to change.

Current issues in the Netherlands, such as a free market system in health care, patient safety and responsibility, staff shortage, and articulate patients, all demand an external focus. This means anticipating market trends, getting ready for competition, and responding to the needs of patients, residents, and clients. The major task of management is to drive health care organizations toward better results and innovation.

Indeed, a stronger adhocracy culture is desired: executives and staff would like a more vital and dynamic working environment! They prefer a health care sector that encourages more personal freedom in their field of specialization, as well as more personal responsibility and individual initiative.

The market culture, however, with its stronger emphasis on productivity and driven by customer focus is, according to this survey, voted down. Instead, the health care sector wishes more focus on aspects such as concern for people and good fellowship.

Work pressure and mergers interfere with innovation and focus on people

The study supplies more interesting details. Health care professionals think managers put too much emphasis on productivity. Managers on the other hand tend to have higher clan scores than professionals. They think they emphasize people, while their subjects feel pressure for productivity. Managers as well as professionals across all parts of the health care sector crave innovation and concern for people.

Among health care professionals, those working in domiciliary care and mental health care are the least satisfied with their organizational culture, followed by hospital staff, those who care for disabled people, nurses, and caretakers. Those working in primary health care seem to be the most satisfied.

We also found that the larger the organization, the more emphasis on hierarchy and productivity and less focus is given to people.
Radical change is desired by organizations with more than 1,000 employees. So it seems important to carefully assess the future impact of mergers. That’s interesting, since many mergers are occurring in the Dutch health care sector.

In short, big and radical changes are desired by the sector. Professor Kim Cameron, who has developed the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument, thinks the results require action.
It may be a challenge, however, to get the results-oriented market culture accepted as a significant, meaningful, and professional culture that will contribute to good health care. Most health care professionals strongly value people and have a strong aversion to the values of the market culture.

In the years to come, successful health care organizations will be those that know how to integrate results orientation and innovation with care and concern for people; therefore, the health care sector will have to start working seriously on organizational culture.
Especially innovative, effective, and inspiring leadership on all levels will be very important. Good people skills greatly contribute to a healthy sector.

OCAI online carried out this survey because we wish to make a positive contribution to people at work. Organizational culture proves to be the major obstacle to organizational change: The failure rate of most planned organizational change initiatives is 75 percent.
It’s time we take the human factor and organizational culture into account to create better results!

Categories Case Studies OCAI

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