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 14: Organisational and health effects of workplace empowerment in health care settings

Heather Laschinger


Creating empowering work environments that promote employee engagement and retention is challenging in today’s fiscally constrained health care climate. Increasing workloads and patient acuity have had negative effects on nurses’ workplace health and wellbeing (Stanton, 2004; Tyler and Cushway, 1992). Nurses have an illness-related absenteeism rate that is 58 per cent higher than the overall Canadian labour force (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2007) and alarmingly high rates of job dissatisfaction (Aiken et al., 2002). These poor working conditions impede efforts to recruit and retain qualified nurses, which are critical in a time of a nursing workforce shortage. Workplace empowerment theory (Kanter, 1977, 1993; Spreitzer, 1995) offers a theory-driven approach for creating work environments that promote positive employee outcomes in health care settings (Joiner and Bartram, 2004; Laschinger et al., 2004b; Laschinger et al., 2009c).

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