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Organizational Culture: Life or Death Case Study

Essay by   •  March 16, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,314 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,710 Views

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Abstract

Life and death situations are a day to day activity in hospitals across the country. This paper explains

some aspects prevalent in the organizational cultures of hospitals and what role these cultures play in

providing successful and timely treatment of patients. Values of the staff are important aspects to

consider when defining success as well as complimentary work habits of coworkers to that of the overall

culture. Further analysis in this paper will also identify different events that can change a team culture.

Supporting evidence will be assimilated from both the internet and text books in order to sufficiently

support these points of interest and tie them together to understand how much organizational culture

plays on the success of an organization.

Organizational Culture: Life or Death Case Study

Hospitals play an integral role in the treatment of patients facing life threatening situations. It's a place

where countless people turn to when they are very ill or injured. The employees staffing these hospitals

are a key determining factor as to how successfully and timely treatment may be administered. As such,

the work habits of the staff must be closely aligned to the culture of the hospital where they work. By

hiring employees that align well with the existing and desired culture of an organization, a hiring firm

may quickly assimilate employees into functional and productive roles than if they were to hire

employees that did not align to the culture. Removing existing members that do not align with the

culture may be removed, but it is also important to examine this from a cost and benefit analysis 1.

Apparent Values Driving the Hospital Staff to Treat Heart Attack Patients

Doctors and healthcare professionals historically take what is called the Hippocratic Oath. This oath is a

pledge to practice medicine ethically and, "...to act for the benefit of...patients" 2. Common values in

medicine revolve around diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease 3. Recent studies have shown that

errors in healthcare lead up to 98,000 deaths per year, another 100,000 deaths resulted from

preventable infections, and 1.3 million medicating errors that result in injury 4. As such, a critical avenue

to enhance care is to minimizing errors within the hospital. One approach to minimizing errors is to

streamline processes. A case study from the Stanford Hospital and Clinics that exemplifies this push for

streamlining involved the nursing staff filling medications for patients. Prior to implementing a just in

time electronic ordering system, nurses carried around medication needs for their patients on sticky

notes. Thinking about that process, there is a high chance of error in that the sticky note could be lost or

the note could be misread or given to the wrong patient. After implementing the electronic system,

medication errors were minimized, delivered more timely, billing was streamlined, and inventory was

drastically reduced 5. Knowing how much is at stake and that improving processes and procedures can

improve quality, reduce response time, and ultimately save more lives fosters a value system that

revolves around continuous process improvement. This value system, when executed properly, allows

enough flexibility for hospitals to respond quickly and with enough urgency to deliver effective lifesaving

treatment for heart attack patients.

Why Work Habits Should Match the Team Culture

As with any group, there are five stages to effective team building. The stages include forming,

storming, norming, and performing and adjourning. 6 In the work place, a team of employees is a

continuously evolving group of people that should be united by a mission statement and common goals.

If a team were to remain in the storming phase instead of moving forward to the norming and

performing phases, the team would struggle to get anything done. Look at the government as an

example. The government forms, storms, and adjourns yet does not norm or perform. As such, little is

accomplished as common goals are not being agreed upon or pursued. The same principle is true for

hospitals. If employee work habits do not match up to the team culture, the team is going to constantly

be in the storming phase. With a greater focus on storming rather

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