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Defining competencies for hospital management: A comparative analysis of the public and private sectors

Rubin Pillay (Department of Management, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 2 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of providing managers in both the public and private sectors with the requisite competencies to help address efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness in the delivery of health services.


A cross sectional survey using a self administered questionnaire was conducted among hospital managers in South Africa. Respondents were asked to rate the level of importance that each proposed competency had in their job and to indicate their perceptions about the adequacy of health management training programs in South Africa.


Hospital managers in both sectors feel that people management and self management skills are the most valuable for the efficient and effective management of hospitals, followed by “hard management skills” and skills related to the ability to think strategically. Specific skills or knowledge related to health care delivery were perceived to be least important. Public sector managers were also more likely to seek future training, and were also more adamant about the need for future management development programs.


This research provides the evidence that there is a great need, as well as a significant demand, for a degree program in health management at South African institutions. The findings will be useful in the conceptualization, design and delivery of health management programs aimed at enhancing current and future management and leadership capacity in the health sector.



Pillay, R. (2008), "Defining competencies for hospital management: A comparative analysis of the public and private sectors", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 99-110.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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