Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

Organizational and Market Factors Associated with Leadership Development Programs in Hospitals: A National Study

Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

Organizational and Market Factors Associated with Leadership Development Programs in Hospitals: A National Study

Article excerpt

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Effective leadership in hospitals is widely recognized as the key to organizational performance. Clinical, financial, and operational performance is increasingly being linked to the leadership practices of hospital managers. Moreover, effective leadership has been described as a means to achieve competitive advantage. Recent environmental forces, including reimbursement changes and increased competition, have prompted many hospitals to focus on building leadership competencies to successfully address these challenges.

Using the resource dependence theory as our conceptual framework, we present results from a national study of hospitals examining the association of organizational and market factors with the provision of leadership development program activities, including the presence of a leadership development program, a diversity plan, a program for succession planning, and career development resources. The data are taken from the American Hospital Association's (AHA) 2008 Survey of Hospitals, the Area Resource File, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The results of multilevel logistic regressions of each leadership development program activity on organizational and market factors indicate that hospital size, system and network affiliation, and accreditation are significantly and positively associated with all leadership development program activities. The market factors significantly associated with all leadership development activities include a positive odds ratio for metropolitan statistical area location and a negative odds ratio for the percentage of the hospital's service area population that is female and minority. For-profit hospitals are less likely to provide leadership development program activities. Additional findings are presented, and the implications for hospital management are discussed.

INTRODUCTION

Effective leadership in hospitals is widely recognized as the key to organizational performance (Squazzo 2009). Clinical, financial, and operational performance is increasingly being linked to the leadership practices of hospital managers. Moreover, effective leadership has been described as a means to achieve competitive advantage (Day 2000). However, a variety of environmental forces, such as declining reimbursements, heightened competition among hospitals and hospital systems, informational and medical technological development, and staff turnover and shortages, have recendy combined to create significant challenges for hospital leaders.

Given these environmental challenges, hospitals are increasingly creating programs to develop the best leadership for their organizations. Following McAlearney (2008), leadership development programs are viewed as educational interventions and skillbuilding activities designed to address and improve the leadership capabilities of individuals. They also include self-reflection components to help managers understand their leadership styles and decision making and how others are influenced (Sukin 2009). These programs are being developed to ensure that hospitals have leaders at all levels of the organization who possess the necessary skills, competencies, and understanding to move the organization to high levels of achievement. In addition, such programs contribute to the stability of organizational culture and help organizations work through succession planning to overcome turnover and retirements (Squazzo 2009; McAlearney 2008).

Although there is a growing body of literature on the frequency of leadership development programs in hospitals, few empirical studies have examined the factors associated with the availability of these programs. The purpose of this study is to identify the organizational and market factors that are associated with the offering of leadership development programs in community acute care hospitals in the United States. We specifically address the following two research questions:

1. …

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