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 10: Enhancing medical leadership and engagement: impact upon organisational performance

Peter Spurgeon


The term ‘engagement’ has emerged within the literature on work psychology as a development from job satisfaction and staffcommitment. It has become popular and is used in many contexts, usually without definition and seemingly on the basis that all involved in the discussion have a shared understanding. Once a term reaches such a level of popular usage – for example leadership – then the lack of precision can also be a source of confusion. Politicians, when being interviewed and in a situation where opposition clearly exists to their viewpoint, will frequently retreat to phrases such as ‘we must engage the public in a debate about this’. In this sense engagement is a rather unspecified dialogue and part of a general process of communication. Also reference is sometimes made to engaging with a source of opposition or conflict, and again engagement is part of a communication process with a focus on influencing the other party. We can find strands of these rather lay concepts of engagement when we consider a more academic application to the notion of engagement in a work setting.

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