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Hierarchies and Holdings: Implications of SME Entrepreneurship for Enhanced HRM in Hospital Management

Hierarchies and Holdings: Implications of SME Entrepreneurship for Enhanced HRM in Hospital Management
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Author(s): Teresa Carla Oliveira (University of Coimbra, Portugal), Stuart Holland (University of Coimbra, Portugal), João Fontes da Costa (Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra, Portugal) and Francisco Edinaldo Lira de Carvalho (University of Coimbra, Portugal)
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 35
Source title: Effective Human Resources Management in Small and Medium Enterprises: Global Perspectives
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Carolina Machado (University of Minho, Portugal) and Pedro Melo (University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4731-2.ch017


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This chapter proposes that key features of New Public Management (NPM) in complex public service organisations, such as teaching hospitals, are less new than a reversal to Weberian hierarchy, Fordist concern with throughput rather than quality, Taylorist standardised performance criteria, and Foucauldian surveillance. While this judgement is severe, it illustrates that such management models combined with market or quasi-market criteria have been dysfunctional in the UK in near trebling administrative costs, demotivating health professionals, and in the view of their professional associations, risk destroying the principles of a national health service. It proposes that those concerned to counter this could draw on more plural modes of management in public sector institutions such as holding companies as a model for reforms in hospital organisation, which could enable a degree of relative autonomy for individual services and units similar to that typical of small- to medium-sized firms. It distinguishes organisational logic as the basis for economic efficiency from operational logic as the basis for social efficiency in terms of psychological wellbeing of both health professionals and patients. It submits that doctors as managers of staff in different services and units need relative autonomy for effective implementation of Human Resource Management (HRM) practices at operational levels to be able to enhance purposeful engagement and vocational commitment to health as public service as well to enable psychological contracting into change. Informed by a case study within a socio-cognitive approach in a major European teaching hospital, it then draws implications concerning the merits of a holding company model for hospital organisation.

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