The aim of this essay is to highlight the importance of hierarchy and distribution of power in the modern healthcare society of Australia. Similar to every other business society, health care systems, too, require their members to be organized with respect to their relative authority. Contrary to popular belief, hierarchy and power are well customized as well as essential in the proper functioning of a medical organization. The essay is divided into five parts; the following essay discusses the significance of Hierarchy and Power in the field of Healthcare Management and enumerates their roles on issues like physical and psychological stress, medical educational issues in case of healthcare professionals and understanding development of the system as a whole. It is continued with the theoretical discussions that support the presented topic and finally drawing the impacts of these policies on a health practitioner. The essay sheds light on the conceptualization and definition of the hierarchy.
Usually, a hierarchy is broadly defined as a division of arranging people in socially interrelated dimensions (Bartley, 2016). Hierarchies exist in different states, like, ranking among staff members in the nursing department of a hospital with respect to their responsibility or ability to perform their functions and their experience in their respective field (Cockerham, 2014). The focus of the essay is majorly in the context as visualized in the controlled work environment of a healthcare organization. However, this does not imply that the different type of working groups (for example, surgeons, administrators, and nurses) are categorized per the academic excellence, it simply focuses on the patterns observed in the hierarchy module while governing a healthcare organization.
While working as a part of a team, usually some problems are encountered by the members. Certain disagreement may arouse over the goals and the related strategies; to avoid such obstacles, the group leader must influence the subordinates by the sociological theories of clinical collective decision making. Hierarchies provide the solution to these group-oriented problems by intervening methods influenced by collective decision making (Braithwaite et al. 2016). This is achieved by increasing the quality of the decisions by giving some amount of unregistered control to the most capable participants. Gabe and Monaghan (2013) notice when a team of experienced healthcare devises about the strategies to be observed in a certain department, it is filled with complexities and ambiguous observations. Thus, this sociological concept sheds light on how the work output can significantly increase when there is an introduction of a hierarchical system in the power distribution of the administrative body of a healthcare organization.
According to the studies of Kash et al. (2014), it is seen that when the hierarchy of a group is established on skills, the group records a comparatively better performance. The studies of Ferlie et al. (2016), experimentally influence the communication pathway models (including wheel structure and comcon model) among staffs of different healthcare departments, while all of them collectively worked on a single task. A wheel structure is permitted in the first case, where one of the caregivers could communicate with all others, whereas the subordinates can only relate to the central caregiver. A control is designed where according to a ‘comcon’ system; all the caregivers are allowed free communication with each and every member of their team, with an absence of a sole hierarchical head. These contrasting structures determined the steepness of the hierarchical system seen in the healthcare industry, which is indispensable if a concise distribution of responsibilities is to be achieved. Pope (2013) observed whether all the healthcare groups in a specific hospital possess an appointed leader as they worked on their assigned tasks. They too, supporting the views of the prior experiment, have commented on the necessity of the steep models of hierarchy. Hence with the help of this sociological theory, it can be analyzed that the hierarchical and power structure of a health care business can influence a steadier administrative infrastructure of a healthcare organization.
There are some results, which, however, give a null effect when regarding the concept of hierarchical steepness. Bartley (2016) mentioned that healthcare groups work in according to the highest potential, irrespective of a presence of an assigned group leader. This finding is further supported by the studies of Rodon and Silva (2015). who mentioned as an additional comment that healthcare personnel teams that had an experienced leader established on their previous scores of task ability, failed to perform more than health staff without a registered leadership. The works of Schmidt et al. (2015) too, found no significant difference between the work outputs of two teams of health care support teams, one of which had a senior doctor overseeing their work, whilst the other worked following a concept of peer to peer communication among all the members of the team.
As put forward by Anicich et al. (2015), a hierarchy in a medical field is essential more than ever, due to the need of an organized method of work. The understanding between the professional caregivers and the resident doctors is required to be in a top-notch condition in order to assure a speedy service provision to the patient. The sociological theory that involves hierarchy allows an authoritative body to govern a certain medical facility such as, a hospital, by providing a clear path of instructions for each and every employee in the organization. Hospital executives use the concepts of power distribution at different levels of hierarchy to motivate the healthcare workers to improve their potential and perform at an enhanced level of potency. The basic concept of hierarchy involves that every working entity is a subordinate to another person; all except one. Since sociology pivots around the learning of social life, thereby, it is essential to address the major influences created by social factors on their workspace as well as the health of their patients. In accordance with the "adapt or die" theory of the present challenges faced by the healthcare systems in Australia, leadership is needed to innovate and ensure the development of the preexisting services (Braithwaite, 2016). The healthcare industry faces a constant change, since no two patients are same, and neither are their ailments. Pope (2013) suggests that the prosperity of the healthcare field is now being provided by private enterprises and social organizations can bring about ample opportunities in the instance of transformational leadership. The recent failures in the geriatric method of healthcare management have further consolidated the notion that there a radical approach to the hierarchy in healthcare work area is of utmost urgency.
Bartley, M. (2016). Health inequality: an introduction to concepts, theories and methods. John Wiley & Sons.
Cockerham, W. C. (2014). Medical sociology. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Ferlie, E., Montgomery, K., & Pedersen, A. R. (Eds.). (2016). The Oxford handbook of health care management. Oxford University Press.
Gabe, J., & Monaghan, L. (2013). Key concepts in medical sociology. Sage.
Anicich, E. M., Fast, N. J., Halevy, N., & Galinsky, A. D. (2015). When the bases of social hierarchy collide: Power without status drives interpersonal conflict. Organization Science, 27(1), 123-140.
Braithwaite, J., Clay-Williams, R., Vecellio, E., Marks, D., Hooper, T., Westbrook, M., ... & Ludlow, K. (2016). The basis of clinical tribalism, hierarchy and stereotyping: a laboratory-controlled teamwork experiment. BMJ open, 6(7), e012467.
Kash, B. A., Spaulding, A., Gamm, L. D., & Johnson, C. (2014). Leadership, culture, and organizational technologies as absorptive capacity for innovation and transformation in the healthcare sector: A framework for research. Change Management, 13(1), 1-13.
Pope, T. M. (2013). The growing power of healthcare ethics committees heightens due process concerns.
Rodon, J., & Silva, L. (2015). Exploring the formation of a healthcare information infrastructure: hierarchy or meshwork?. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 16(5), 394.
Schmidt, K., Aumann, I., Hollander, I., Damm, K., & von der Schulenburg, J. M. G. (2015). Applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process in healthcare research: A systematic literature review and evaluation of reporting. BMC medical informatics and decision making, 15(1), 112.
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