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Helping organizations transform their operations in ways mutually beneficial to all stakeholders is the primary goal of senior management (Senior, 2002, p. 28). It is due to that understanding that concurrent sections of this report will develop mechanism to be applied in the process of enabling Sullivan Hospital System (SHS) to reclaim its title as provider of quality health care in the region, as a facility providing best employment environment, and as seasoned participant in community activities. As most stakeholders understand, the is currently undergoing challenges that require immediate attention that necessitate studies that culminated into this report. The report is divided into three section, each of which address particular issue. The first section diagnoses persisting problem at the hospital system, whereas the second provides some interventions that should be considered. The third section consists of an action plan detailing on long run measures that should forthwith be applied in day-to-day operations at SHS.
SHS is facing several problems that will be detailed in this section. Chief among them in increased centralization of decision making processes. As it stands now, most decisions are being made at the highest level of management, meaning that delegation of duty to most efficient members of the labor force is being ignored completely. It is therefore not unique to see employees waiting to be given instructions on some operations which they could have dealt with independently. This is a sorry situation, because lack of delegation of duties is leading to diminishing morale in the labor force (Hussey, 2000, p 136). However, it is encouraging that senior management in SHS facilities are acknowledging that this problem persists, which would improve their participation in solutions finding processes. Having the senior management know the current state of the organization and the need to change the way things are currently done would also lead to greater support and participation. In addition, the management would be willing to talk to employees regarding the importance of their contribution. Since these two groups are the ones that have a direct contact with clients, it would be possible to implement decisions to be developed in this process.
The centralization of decision making processes has led to establishment of bureaucratic tendencies in the organization. This has developed because heads if different departments have been protecting their work turfs from being encroached by senior management that is prone to making decisions on behalf. Middle managers, therefore, been seeing senior management as threats instead of partners in management processes. This has been spreading slowly into higher management levels. Unfortunately, senior management in SHS facilities have failed to recognize that bureaucratic tendencies have been developing within the organization. This is sad because it could reduce their willingness to help with solving the bureaucracy problem in SHS. Having made at the highest level in the organizations has led to a situation where decisions made take too long before getting to the targeted individual. In addition, since messages are passed through the organizational hierarchy, messages can get distorted and therefore lead to the wrong decisions being made.
The other problem facing SHS is too much duplication of duties in and within the two facilities. It has been observed that in most instances, both facilities have similar hierarchical management structures that are equally inefficient. Constant calls by stakeholders for reform of these management structures seem to have been falling to deaf years, meaning that nothing has been done to rectify the problem. In addition, managerial positions in the hospital has been rising at alarming rates, leading to questions whether such proliferation of posts is justified. Indeed, this has been happening at a period that SHS has been experiencing operational difficulties. Stakeholders would have therefore expected contraction of managerial position, not the increase that has been going on.
The current management has not provided clear job description to members of the labor force. Even new members of staff have not been receiving job descriptions at the time of their enrollment. As a result, there appears to be confusion on what each members of staff should be doing on a daily basis. This has resulted to some regrettable occasions where nurses failed to take care of patients in belief that their colleagues would be taking such responsibilities. Though providing job descriptions should be the work of departmental and middle managers, there has been no evidence that individuals in those positions have been undertaking this key responsibility. Even senior management that is supposed to provide departmental managers with their job descriptions have not been undertaking that responsibility either, meaning that this is totally an organizational problem. The lack of job description in the organization has the cost of leading to turf wars. This is because employees tend to feel that other members of staff could start performing duties not reserved for them. The fight over departmental turfs has already started showing itself in SHS.
Communication procedures within SHS has deterioration recently. This is caused by the lack of procedures to pass information from one office or individual to the other. Some SHS stakeholders have suggested that lack of job descriptions is the main cause of poor communication network in both facilities. This hypothesis sounds accurate, because employees would not understand who they are supposed to send different kinds of information. In addition, SHS has not taken advantage of information technology to pass information from one office to another—this is being done through the old personal and phone conversation as well as passage of notes. This has resulted to slow communication and lack of archives that can be used for future reference. While SHS is struggling with the outdated communication competitors in other hospital facilities have embraced information technology as their primary tool of communication.
Probably one of the biggest problems within SHS is the lack of organizational culture within the management, employees and greater stakeholder body. The organization does not seem to have a common understanding on process to be used in reaching SHS goals, vision and mission. It has been established that members of the labor force at all levels of management understand goals, vision and mission but cannot interpret them, meaning that each individual develops personal mechanisms. This has resulted to situation where SHS has too many models of achieving the desired goals. Unfortunately most of the personal goals within an organization happen to be short term, and thus confront with those of their employers (Henriksen, 2004, p. 301). In addition, these short run goals are all different (they are as many as the number of employees in SHS facilities). As a result, employees in the same department could start influencing others into following goals that are completely different from those of the organization.
SHS management has been slow in adopting feedback mechanisms from clients. Indeed, some members of the labor force have expressed ideas that SHS has been doing a great job helping patients though health challenges only to forget about them once they leave SHS facilities. As a result, the management has no way of getting customer feedback that is important in understanding whether clients were served to their expectations, or whether services received were worth the amount paid. In this regard, the management lacks ways of improving the facilities’ weakest points and making the strong parts contribute further to the organization’s competitive advantage that will help at keeping competitors at bay.
All of the above problems have resulted to two sorry scenarios: lower customer satisfaction and loss of market share to competition. Some of the problems show that SHS management has been slow to keep up with trends in the industry. That is they have not been innovating new ways of achieving Organizational objectives. On the other hand, competition has been busy innovating and developing new mechanisms that lead to greater consumer and employee satisfaction. The lower customer satisfaction rates are thought to be developing from management’s failure to undertake measures regarding consumer views. In addition, the management has been integrating the labor force and other stakeholders in decision making processes. The loss of market share to competition has been developing from improved management and satisfactory services being provided by other heath care facilities. It has to be understood that only by addressing the above systems that can SHS return to its position as a market leader in health care provision in the region.
This section include measures that should be taken in the process of helping the organization change its fortunes. One solution that the management should consider implementing immediately is the decentralization of decision making processes in the organization. Management has to have it in mind that employees in the organization have been trained in their respective fields and are capable of performing their activities efficiently. The first phase of decentralization should go to the departmental level, and the second one to the individual level. This will lead to a situation where employees themselves will be making quicker decisions regarding this activities.
Second, all employees, including senior most management should be provided with clear job descriptions that would enable them to understand what they should be doing in their day-to-day activities. The first step in providing job descriptions would involve writing down a list of all duties that have to be performed in SHS systems. This should start from the smallest duties to most critical ones. Undertaking such a process would help management to subdivide duties in accordance with employee’s capabilities, skills, and experience. The third stage would involve ensuring that employees understand their job descriptions.
Third, the management should consider improving the current communication system. This will make it possible for members of the labor force to communicate with each efficient ways that would result to greater productivity. Indeed, having messages communicated to the relevant recipients in a speedy manner is one benefit that the organization would reap. The best route in ensuring this happens is thorough greater use of communication technology, and should indeed from the primary communication mode for SHS. Greater use of communication technology would also help in the collaboration of decision making processes.
Fourth, SHS management has to start collecting customer feedbacks. Clients should be asked to fill some feedback form after being discharged and some weeks afterwards. Having such information at hand will help in doing away with practices that prove to be inconsequential to client needs. Any positive feedback should be used to improve hospital strengths that would aid in catching up with competition. During these follow-ups, all information regarding how clients were received at the hospital, how they were diagnosed, to the way their release was handled should be included. The management should make use of information technology in its process of getting feedback from clients. For instance, clients should be requested to fill the forms on SHS website and submit immediately. As a result, management would be in a position to get feedback and distribute to different managers depending on the message contained therein. In addition, the management should consider holding regular meetings, where feedback would be discussed in detail.
This meetings should constitute of different department heads, who will be answering questions that could be raised by customers regarding treatment by several members of staff. This will put departments on the know regarding issues that could be affecting their departments. In order to ensure that changes proposed in these meetings are made, the feedback committee should request departments to develop mechanisms to deal with problems at the departmental level. Such a procedure would improve efficiency within departments and the entire organization in general. Dealing with customer satisfaction issues at departmental level also helps to motivate employees, because they are put at the driving seat in matters pertaining to managing their departments. In addition, senior management in both facilities would be left with ample time to develop winning strategies to be used in the long term Organizational management. Having the consumer feedback committee constitutes member from different departments would help employees improve their teamwork skills that would benefit the organization in the long run (Carnall, 2002, p. 96). At the end, SHS will be in a position to address problems facing its facilities currently, as well as developing long run strategies.
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Reforming the way SHS has been carrying its operations is not an option for the current management. Indeed, this is something they must undertake in order top avoid the down spiral that has characterized the organizations activities in recent past. This section will stipulate on long term measures that would drastically change the way this organization runs. Though there are several measures included in the section, three of them, Organizational culture, SWOT analysis and employee appraisal system stands out as key to helping the SHS reclaim the lost glory and move into new heights in health care provision and management. This section is divided into two sections: one dealing with goals, objectives and targets to be set and achieved, while the second section deals with the actual action plans to be undertaken. Apart from following the action plan detailed below, SHS management should consider doing a research on the procedures followed by competition. That is, know what competition is using to increase consumer satisfaction and thereby steal market share.
In addition to the general SHS objectives, this action plan shall add a new objective of helping the organization reclaim its position as the best and most preferred health care providers in the region. This is occasioned by fact that action is being developed because of SHS’s fall from its former position. As it will happen with organization goals, this action plan shall add some new goals that include: addressing the persisting problems (listed in section II), be ahead of competition in matters pertaining to trends in the industry, and understand consumer needs better, which will enable the organization to provide best care to clients compared to competition. The target for this action plan is to have SHS regain its market share within the next nine months, after which it is expected to grow rapidly against competition.
First in the action plan would be the development of organizational culture, which would give SHS a new identity that all employees would be associated with (Graetz, 2002, p. 242). As mentioned in earlier sections of the paper, SHS lacks organizational culture binding employee and SHS goals together. That is employees and other stakeholders would be in a position to understand what other stakeholders would like the community to see in the organization. The Organizational culture should be focused on the customer. In this regard, all employees would be thinking of their customers’ needs as they go along with their daily activities in SHS facilities. Having clients’ best interest in mind would lead to employees asking themselves on how they could best meet clients needs. Having such thoughts in employees’ minds would lead to development of efficient processes beneficial to the organization and clients. There are three types of culture that SHS management should consider developing in the labor force.
First, SHS management should consider developing personal culture, which helps employees work independently and undertake responsibilities with much enthusiasm (Boyle & Joyce, 1988, p. 88). Personal culture is also referred to as responsibility culture, because employees will personally be responsible for all activities in their job descriptions. Personal culture makes employees feel more independent and trusted by the management (Stickland, 1998, p. 124), Fact that results to increase in productivity. Being tasked with the responsibility making decisions closely related to employees line of work also helps in increasing motivation. With regard to SHS, employees would be motivated to develop mechanisms that increase their efficiency, and therefore deliver beyond management expectations.
Second, the management should develop team culture, which aids in collaboration of duties among employees (Wallis, Charles & Wolff, 1988, p. 254). Having members of the labor force work effectively with each other would lead to greater team works vital in organizational activities. Sine individuals will be bringing their personal cultures into the teams, working groups would be more efficient because employees would have already developed mechanisms. In addition, personal culture application in team work would mean that individual employees would be able to complete their parts of the project on time. When that happens to the entire team, then the groups would be in a position to accomplish their goals at descent speed s without compromising on quality.
The second plan that the management should consider undertaking is the use of SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis of the organization, which would help in repositioning SHS in the health care market (Brooks, 2006, p. 39). The Strength part stands for SHS’s competitive advantages in the market. The management should thus consider recognizing the organization’s strongest qualities that have contributed to growth in profits and market share previously. Management should then move into exploiting those strengths to the point that competition will find it hard to catch up with SHS. The Weaknesses part includes the aforementioned problems that have contributed to the poor performance of the disorganization in the market place as well as performing below consumer expectations. The opportunities part should deal with areas in the market that the SHS should exploit. In doing so, SHS should use it comparative advantage to stay ahead of competition in market opportunities that have not been exploited as of yet. Performing a SWOT analysis would help SHS to understand how the organization can exploit the market, as well as dealing with problem that is currently ailing operations.
The third action should involve the use of employee appraisal system that would help in understanding the way members of the labor force are responding to the new management system (Lewis & Cooper, 2005, p. 225). This should be done through regular meetings between appraisal teams and employees, and the focus should be on helping employees understand the need to put more effort in their work. At the same time, appraisal teams should make a point of helping requesting employee to express their opinions and feelings regarding the system. During these meetings, employees should be requested to say what they need to perform their jobs better. Since these appraisal systems would serve as feedbacks to employees’ performance.
As mentioned in most sections of the paper, involving employees in all processes will have many positive effects on the organization. Therefore, the management should consider employees as part and parcel of the organization’s stakeholder group. Only then can SHS start embarking on the route of reclaiming its lost glory as a market leader in health care provision. The success to be achieved in this process should form key procedures to be followed when dealing with future problems.
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