Organizational Culture within a Hospital Environment

Introduction

The human factor in an organization plays a significant role in the formulation of its culture. Therefore, managers and workers need to realize and uphold the significance of values and philosophies that drive an organization towards its success. Understanding and developing an effective organizational culture in the healthcare industry is essential for the delivery of quality services to patients and communities. Complex hospital structures, competitive labor markets, and levels of patient satisfaction highly depend on the values, behaviors, attitudes, norms, and expectations that form the organizational culture (Wellman, Jeffries & Hagan, 2010). From the educational point of view, sound leadership becomes an important aspect of influencing an organizational culture in line with its mission and vision. This paper will analyze how educational organizational culture contributes to the provision of quality healthcare services. Additionally, an assessment of various factors that affect organizational culture towards the realization of organizational goals will be carried out.

Organizational Culture

Organizational structures define how employees conduct themselves and interact with fellow staff and clients. Organizational culture comprises value systems that are obtained over a period that guides relationships, problem-solving, and the adaptation to the external environment (Ehrhart, Schneider & Macey, 2013). This aspect implies that the culture within an organization directs members on how to behave to attain success. Similarly, it indicates how behaviors within the organization can contribute to its failure. A hospital whose mission and value is to uphold high standard services to all members of the community needs to have systems that facilitate a productive organizational culture. Therefore, the leadership aspect plays a central role in influencing the behavior and attitude of doctors, nurses, and workers in a bid to enhance the provision of commendable services to patients (Borkowski, 2009).

The organizational culture within a hospital context improves the management of the human resource factor, as it guides the limits of interactions and relationships. Both formal and informal relationships are vital for the delivery of excellent healthcare services because doctors, nurses, and workers can interact and discuss issues that affect their performance at work. Therefore, a sound organizational culture facilitates the workers’ satisfaction, thus resulting in timely and quality services to the clients. On the other hand, an ineffective organizational culture characterized by the workers’ negative attitudes and bad conduct can be detrimental to the community and the organization itself (Borkowski, 2009). This assertion holds because unsatisfied patients portray that the hospital did not meet its value and mission of providing excellent healthcare services. For this reason, education on the various aspects that impact an organization’s culture needs to be addressed through leadership that seeks to influence the behavior of followers towards certain ends.

Contribution of Organizational Culture towards the Attainment of High Standard Healthcare Services

The culture of an organization creates a sense of mission and direction encompassed in its values (Cameron & Quinn, 2011). In this case, the value and mission of the hospital facilitate high standard services to members of the community. Therefore, the existence of a culture that revolves around the hospital’s mission and value gives members a sense of direction. Also, the sense of direction and mission is portrayed in all the engagements of the organization since every doctor, nurse, or worker behaves in a particular manner that is acceptable by all. In this regard, all the activities would be geared towards the attainment of desired goals to satisfy the management and patients. Conditioning employees to comply with the set values and mission in the hospital setting is beneficial to the organization since it lays down a sense of direction geared towards the provision of desirable services to the public.

Organizational culture builds a mobilized workforce that is passionate about getting things right for clients. Mobilization of the workforce is usually attained after employees have been educated about the values acceptable and mission to be accomplished. In this case, leadership plays a significant role since it instills the values and mobilizes the human resource as it serves the community (Schein, 2010). Since the individual workers have different personal beliefs, values, experiences, motivations, and goals in life, the organization sets collective values and missions through its culture. According to Schein (2010), mobilizing the workforce to operate in line with an organization’s culture integrates them into the system, thus promoting cooperation.

The contribution of an organization’s culture towards constructive relationships cannot be underestimated. Formal and informal relationships are usually defined by the culture of an organization (Fumham, & Xenikou, 2013). The social and interactive aspect of operations within an organization such as a healthcare facility is paramount since workers and patients have to interact meaningfully. Since the hospital’s mission is to uphold quality service delivery to the community, all relationships, whether formal or informal, are expected to be in line with the mission and values. Formal relationships instill professionalism and respect according to the structural provisions of the organization. On the other hand, informal interactions facilitate relationships at a personal level, thus creating a better understanding between the workers and patients (Borkowski, 2009). In this case, the workers are expected to approach patients with respect, create a good rapport, and be supportive thereby fostering high standard healthcare services.

How Organizational Culture can Detract Achievement of the Hospital’s Mission

An organization’s culture has profound implications on the ethical behavior of its employees. Negative organizational cultures create unethical practices among employees, thus derailing the move towards the attainment of the set goals (Connors & Smith, 2012). In this light, the realization of the hospital’s mission of providing high-quality services to the community could be unattainable if the values practiced are not compatible with its mission.

Weak leadership facilitates negative organizational culture. Employees tend to emulate the behaviors of their leaders; therefore, unethical leaders influence their followers to behave like them (Schein, 2010). For this reason, medical practitioners in the hospital setting need to be educated on the importance of sound leadership that is aimed at linking both the workers and patients to their ends. Failure to educate followers on the ethical values ultimately detracts the attainment of the set mission of providing high standard services.

An organizational culture that encourages negative values tends to create high competition within the organization (Cameron & Quinn, 2011). If the hospital rewards doctors who pursue personal achievements, unnecessary competition may crop up among doctors, thus inhibiting cooperation. For instance, some doctors may overstep some ethical standards to pursue personal interests, thus putting the health of the patients at risk. Consequently, both the values and standard of services provided would be compromised at the expense of selfish interests.

Negative organizational culture has implications on the forms of interaction and relationships within an organization. Fumham and Xenikou (2013) argue that organizational cultures that do not guide the forms of interactions tend to let employees interact unprofessionally, thus compromising the quality of output in the long-term. In the healthcare sector, doctors that create poor rapport with patients due to lack of respectful relationships would lead to unsatisfactory services. For instance, discussing the patients’ confidential information with the wrong parties is unethical. Therefore, unethical relationships and interactions tend to portray negative organizational cultures, which may affect the realization of set targets negatively.

Factors that Influence the Culture of a Hospital Organization

Various factors have a bearing on the climate and culture of a hospital organization. Factors such as politics, social values, culture, and ethics imply the organizational culture. This assertion holds because the culture is built on various aspects of society through socialization and other social processes, and thus it is dynamic due to social variables (Connors & Smith, 2012). In this regard, factors within and outside the organization influence its culture either positively or negatively.

Politics plays an integral part in influencing the behavior and attitudes of people. The internal leadership systems within an organization formulate policies that are a depiction of the preferred values. Therefore, leaders instill attitudes that they believe will spearhead the attainment of certain goals (Schein 2010). Consequently, an organization tends to be cultured along political values upheld by the leadership and management systems. On a broader scope, external political aspects have an impact on organizational culture. Employees within an organization are usually affiliated with different political parties, and thus they tend to carry the values and attitudes to the organization. In some scenarios, incompatible political cultures may arise in the organization due to varying political beliefs, values, and attitudes. This aspect can pose a threat to the attainment of organizational goals, thus the organization’s leadership must put structures that stipulate its political culture.

Every society has values that define its culture. Conflicts may arise in an organization due to different beliefs thereby posing threats to the success of an organization. Social values are usually comprised of moral provisions that each member is expected to observe. Therefore, moral and cultural values facilitate productive interactions within an organization since compatible values can further sophisticate organizational structures, thus leading to successful endeavors. Similarly, the overall cultural differences existing either internally or externally in an organization have implications for the employees’ attitudes, behaviors, and values (Stock, McFadden & Gowen, 2007). In this regard, integrating different cultures into compatible values and attitudes is essential for productive organizational processes.

The rightness or wrongness of an act portrays the ethical or unethical intentions of the doer. The issue of morality is usually the primary determinant of cultural values. A society that upholds ethical standards tends to breed morally upright individuals (Stock, McFadden & Gowen, 2007). In this regard, ethical standards observed by employees outside the organization are likely to be brought to the internal environment, hence promoting ethical interactions and behaviors. On the other hand, unethical professionals depict poor moral values in the external environment. Therefore, the socialization of new workers is essential for a successful integration into the organization’s ethical standards and expectations.

Conclusion

Organizational culture defines an organization’s values, objectives, mission, and goals that it seeks to achieve. The values, attitudes, and behaviors portrayed by employees in a work environment reflect the organization’s culture. The healthcare industry is usually aimed at improving the health of community members, and thus observing values that encourage the provision of high standard services is essential. The organizational culture is affected by internal and external factors such as politics, culture, social values, and ethical issues. Therefore, organizational culture has either positive or negative implications on the performance of an organization.

References

Borkowski, N. (2009). Organizational Behavior in Health Care. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Cameron, S., & Quinn, R. (2011). Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Connors, R., & Smith, T. (2012). Change the Culture, Change the Game: The Breakthrough Strategy for Energizing Your Organization and Creating Accountability for Results. New York, NY: Portfolio.

Ehrhart, G., Schneider, B., & Macey, W. (2013). Organizational Climate and Culture: An Introduction to Theory, Research, and Practice. Oxford, UK: Routledge.

Fumham, A., & Xenikou, A. (2013). Group Dynamics and Organizational Culture: Effective Work Groups and Organizations. New York, NY: Palgrave.

Schein, E. (2010). Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Stock, N., McFadden, L., & Gowen, C. (2007). Organizational culture, critical success factors, and the reduction of hospital errors. International Journal of Production Economics, 106(2), 368-392.

Wellman, J., Jeffries, H., & Hagan, P. (2010). Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey: Driving Culture Change to Increase Value. New York: Productivity Press.