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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Health care management and marketing: special issue
Article Type: Editorial overview From: Management Research Review, Volume 33, Issue 2.
About the Guest Editors
Pia PolsaAssistant Professor of Marketing at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. She earned her PhD from Hanken in 2002, and has since published articles in marketing journals such as Journal of Business Research, Journal of Services Research, Supply Chain Management, International Marketing Review, Journal of Academy of Marketing Science Review and International Journal of E-Business Research. Her main research interests are service and relationship marketing at non-profit setting, marketing channels and cross-cultural methodology.
Karen M. SpensProfessor of Supply Chain Management and Corporate Geography at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. She earned her PhD in from Hanken in 2001, and has since published articles in logistics journals such as International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management and International Journal of Logistics Management. She has also edited several special issues for different journals. Her research interests include humanitarian logistics, health care related research and methodological issues in logistics and supply chain management.
Management Research Review publishes a wide variety of articles outlining the latest management research. This special issue focuses on the topic of “Health care management and marketing” and aims at providing the latest update on research conducted in the field of health care management and marketing in a global context.
The special issue on health care management and marketing illustrates the complexity of health care by presenting health care studies from the fields of management, marketing and supply chain management. Health care is usually organized by the public sector while private institutions complement, supplement or compete with the public system. In addition there is an increasing pressure on health care organizations to improve performance (quality, effectiveness, efficiency, health outcome) and at the same time decrease costs. An article in this special issue illuminates how public sector structural changes bring in competitive bidding and how network analysis can be used to study interdependent competences of both public and private sector. Increasing requirements to provide and distribute health care equally, evenly and fairly and the vast amount of actors, activities and resources involved, make health care systems a complex area of study. Two articles in the current special issue study health care providers and employees as actors in this complex field. The first one examines internal interaction between physicians and administrators and how competence-based trust influences these interactions. The second one investigates, in the era of shortage of skilled personnel, how employers can attract competent staff through organizational branding. Organizational branding brings the management-oriented articles to the field of marketing and supply chain management of health care. Consumers are investigated in the fourth article. The study investigates consumers' perception of drug packaging. In the fifth article, reverse distribution of drugs is used as an empirical material to assess national health status thus moving the focus to supply chain management. The final article covers supply chain management but in addition also marketing while discussing recruitment of loyal blood donors.
Whereas the complexity is universal, different national health systems face a variety of challenges. Empirically our special issue covers both European and North American-based health care systems. Methodologically several traits are represented, from more conceptual and inductive studies to hypothetico-deductive reasoning, indicating the variety of types of studies needed to cover the complex and vast field of health care. Cross-disciplinary studies have also been called for. One study that undertakes this challenge is the exploratory case study with the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, which investigates both marketing and supply chain related problems. In conclusion, we can therefore state that the articles included in this special issue are an interesting collection of topics covering a vast variety of methodological traits.
Antai and Mutshinda investigate associations between supply chain management and health care quality in their article on “Health status assessment using reverse supply chain data”. The paper discusses the difficulty to determine and measure health status and thus, proposes an alternative way of examining it. The authors argue that reverse logistic data from pharmaceutical chains can be used as input in the prospect of health status assessment. Monte Carlo analysis was carried out for short-term prediction of a population's health status with regard to a given disease through an artificial data set. The results indicate that there is an association between health status and reverse drug supply chain. Therefore, reverse logistics data can be used for other purposes than only spent material in the supply chain itself but also as data valuable for other aspects of the society like in this case for an assessment of health status.
Grant in a study on “Integration of supply and marketing for a blood service” discusses the blood service sector and the problem it faces with obtaining and retaining loyal donors at one end of its supply chain and being efficient and effective at blood and related product delivery to customers at the other end of its supply chain. The paper thereby combines marketing and a supply chain management perspective in the investigation and in doing so, adapts techniques and technologies from the food processing and retailing sector to address the problems. The findings of the paper indicate that a national blood service can achieve better stock management and resource optimization and better communication with its “input” and “output” stakeholders through implementing better information flows and integration throughout the supply and marketing chain.
Heilmann, in her article on “Employer brand image in a health care organization”, provides an overview of employer brand image in a Finnish hospital organization and aims at offering some proposals for improving a hospital's recruitment process. Through this, the paper demonstrates the importance of employer brand image to the recruitment process. As there are similar trends to be found to those in Finland among health care organizations, especially with regards to recruitment problems and the decreasing amount of the working population, this paper provides useful information for health care managers and researchers concerning the role of employer image in recruiting and the importance of a well-organized recruitment process.
Härkönen, Ulkuniemi and Tähtinen in “Managing competitive bidding in the Finnish healthcare sector” focus on the competences required for managing competitive bidding in Finnish health care. Competitive bidding in networked health care can be argued to be a complex task, which requires new competences. The Finnish public health care sector is interesting to study as it is currently undergoing a vast change as many of its services are being bought from the private sector using competitive bidding. This also means that the health care sector has begun to function as a network of actors. What becomes prevalent is that competitive bidding changes the dynamics of the network and therefore requires new competences from the actors involved. The paper therefore contributes by offering a new understanding of the interdependencies of competencies that are needed in competitive bidding, especially in public-private sector cooperation. The paper also creates a new understanding which can be put to use in the legislative and administrative work in this sector.
The impact of package design attributes such as package colors on consumers' in health care has received little attention in the field of marketing in the past. Kauppinen-Räisänen in the article “The impact of extrinsic and package design attributes on preferences for non-prescription drugs” examines the influence of extrinsic attributes and package design attributes on consumer preferences of high-risk products, such as non-prescription drugs. The findings of the study show that color is indeed a package design attribute that must be carefully considered when a new product is being launched. The author also points out that the redesign of existing product must be made with care as a change of colors may mean a time of confusion, due to the fact that the preferred brand is not identified. This study hopefully aids health care marketers in the decision-making process with respect to package colors, and inspires further work in this field.
Parayitam empirically investigates whether competence-based trust between physician executives and administrators is beneficial to the health care organization in an article on “The effect of competence-based trust between physicians and administrative executives in healthcare on decision outcomes”. Data were collected from top management teams of US hospitals in order to examine the role of competence-based trust between the physicians and administrative executives in enhancing decision quality, commitment and understanding. The results of this study indicate that competence-based trust is the key to successful strategic decision-making while lack of trust may hinder the effectiveness of decision implementation in health care organizations. The key issue put forward being, that when members have perceived trustworthiness among other participants it is more likely that they interpret the information received positively and become committed to the decisions. Overall, the findings from this study provide strong support and reinforce the argument that competence-based trust is a very important variable that is central to strategic decision-making.
In summary, this special issue provides an interesting overview of current research carried out in marketing and logistics and supply chain management in a health care context. We therefore hope that the readers from the key journal audiences find this special issue interesting and that the articles provided within it provide further inspiration for carrying out studies in their respective fields. Finally we would like to thank all our reviewers, without whom this special issue would not have succeeded.
Pia Polsa and Karen M. SpensDepartment of Marketing, Hanken School of Economics,Supply Chain Management and Corporate Geography, Helsinki, Finland
List of reviewers