The Innovation Imperative in Health Care Organisations
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The Innovation Imperative in Health Care Organisations

Critical Role of Human Resource Management in the Cost, Quality and Productivity Equation

Edited by Peter Spurgeon, Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper

Health systems in the western world face increasingly intense pressure to contain or reduce costs, while countries such as China and India move towards universal coverage. The contributors illustrate that radical gains in efficiency and innovative practice are required internationally in health care systems. They argue that the high proportion of health care system costs invested in staffing place the human resource function at the forefront of meeting this challenge. Sustained system change and productivity gains, more effective management of staff and work climate are essential elements of reform and are all covered in this book.
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Chapter 5: The contribution of ‘best- practice’ HR management to better organisational performance

Sandra G. Leggat


Health care is all about people – the people who receive the care and the people who provide the care. While there is plenty of complex technology in health care, most delivery comprises a relationship between a health professional and a patient. The performance of health systems and health care organisations is dependent upon the performance of their health workers (Dussault, 1999). Yet, when there are failures in health care systems poor people management is often found to be a contributing factor. Studies of high-performing organisations in private sector industries have consistently pointed to a positive relationship between human resource management (HRM) and organisational performance (Delaney and Huselid, 1996; Guthrie, 2001; Youndt et al., 1996; Barraud-Didier and Guerrero, 2002). This research suggests that bundles of HRM systems and practices that are aligned to the particular needs of an organisation contribute to better organisational performance (MacDuffie, 1995). There is increasing evidence that this relationship is also present in public health care (Harmon et al., 2003; Aiken et al., 1994; West et al., 2006; Harley et al., 2007; Laschinger et al., 2001; Leggat et al., 2010)

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