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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Denis S. Lahaie

This case study, written by the manager of an intensive/coronary care unit of an Ontario hospital, demonstrates the difficulties faced by health care managers in…

Abstract

This case study, written by the manager of an intensive/coronary care unit of an Ontario hospital, demonstrates the difficulties faced by health care managers in controlling costs and dealing with complexity in the current health care and hospital environment. The case describes actions taken to reduce staffing expenditures in an intensive care unit through a rearrangement of nursing duties and the introduction of a different level of nursing staff to take over some of the nursing duties previously carried out by registered nurses. Although the actions were unsuccessful, the careful documentation and analysis of the results of the actions brings to the fore the multi‐faceted nature of the problems faced by hospitals in managing their costs and at the same time meeting their medical mandate. Concludes by pointing to the ongoing nature of the cost problem as nursing professionals are caught in the squeeze between providing the service they are trained for, and their need for appropriate compensation under conditions of increasing work pressure.

Details

Leadership in Health Services, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-0756

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2005

Denis Lahaie

The author is a nursing management practitioner, whose purpose in writing this paper is twofold: to examine the impact of corporate memory loss on a health care…

Abstract

Purpose

The author is a nursing management practitioner, whose purpose in writing this paper is twofold: to examine the impact of corporate memory loss on a health care institution, caused by increasing retirement rates of senior executives; and to use this research as an opportunity for action learning where both the author and the institution can benefit from the learning outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Using qualitative research methods based on ethnographic interviewing techniques and grounded theory, the author interviews 12 senior executives from four diverse health care facilities. The purpose is to determine the point at which corporate memory loss, in the form of tacit knowledge in the heads of departing executives, becomes a problem for the institution.

Findings

The research determined that the requisite managerial competencies normally assumed for senior management positions are insufficient to minimize the negative impacts of corporate memory loss caused by departing senior executives. Effective knowledge management and knowledge transfer within the organization are fundamental for ongoing organizational effectiveness.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to 12 senior executives. The grounded theory nature of the research provides a framework for more research in other institutions to test and further explore some of the findings.

Practical implications

One of the most significant threats facing the majority of health care organizations related to the aging workforce is the greater number of staff who are retiring from all levels within the organization. The development of techniques to reducing the impact of corporate memory loss on the culture of an organization will increase its effectiveness, help build continuity, and provide a more secure footing for the workforce of the future.

Originality/value

The exit of knowledge workers is causing a major problem for Canada's health care organizations. This study throws more light on to this problem from the point of view of senior executives who have been specifically impacted by the problem of corporate memory loss.

Details

Leadership in Health Services, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-0756

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