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Organizational culture based on the example of an Estonian hospital

Iisi Saame (Department of Public Health, Tartu University, Tartu, Estonia)
Anne Reino (Institute of Management and Marketing, Tartu University, Tartu, Estonia)
Maaja Vadi (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Tartu University, Tartu, Estonia)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 1 November 2011




The concept of organisational culture (also referred to later as OC) is one of the approaches in modern organisational analysis exploring the values, attitudes and beliefs behind human behaviour in the workplace. OC as a social phenomenon is considered to be important for the sustainability of every organisation. In the service sector, OC may affect the nature and quality of the services provided. The aim of this paper is twofold: on the one hand, to highlight the patterns of OC in a hospital; and, on the other hand, to outline relationships between OC and patient satisfaction. The study was conducted in Tartu University Hospital, one of the most influential health care organisations in Estonia. This paper has original value by presenting an insight into organisational culture in the Estonian health care sector, and the findings of the study will expand knowledge of OC in the health care sector in general.


The OC instrument applied in a quantitative cross‐sectional study was earlier developed according to the Competing Values Framework (CVF). Data from 456 medical and non‐medical professionals were analysed using non‐parametric tests of descriptive statistics. A factor analysis was performed to assess the instrument's compatibility for analysing the OC pattern in the health care sector.


The dominant culture type in all the groups investigated was the Internal Processes type, mainly followed by the Rational Goal type, while different cultural patterns were observed in professional groups. The factor analysis yielded a three‐subscale solution. Clinics with high patient satisfaction did not score more than clinics with low patient satisfaction in terms of the Human Relations type.


In future studies a random sample design and a multidisciplinary approach to OC research should be followed in order to further explore OC patterns in hospitals and their consequences for different aspects of hospital performance.



Saame, I., Reino, A. and Vadi, M. (2011), "Organizational culture based on the example of an Estonian hospital", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 526-548.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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