How is privatization related to empowerment?: A longitudinal study with a person-oriented approach in a Swedish hospital
2011 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Privatization of health care has increased in recent decades in order to improve cost effectiveness and quality of care. An underlying assumption is that HRM systems in privatized organizations are more progressive and aimed at developing internal staff resources. According to the “cultural thesis”, work environments in privatized organizations are more homogeneous due to more active management systems. However, it has also been argued that privatization may lead to differentiation of working conditions. In this respect, the “winner-loser thesis” states that privatized organizations differ between high and low performing employees, thereby strengthening groups of both winners and losers. Using a person-oriented approach where individuals are seen as systems of interacting elements, the present study aims at identifying psychological mechanisms that may be central to the privatization process by highlighting patterns, rather than single variables. In this study, we propose that one such system of interacting elements may be psychological empowerment. Empowerment has in previous research been found to be related to positive work behaviors, attitudes and performance. It could therefore be assumed that psychological empowerment is an important prerequisite for successful privatization in terms of higher efficiency and quality of care. The purpose of this study was therefore to examine how empowerment changes – both structurally and individually – among hospital staff during privatization. Longitudinal questionnaire data was used and analyzed by means of cluster analyses. Preliminary results indicate a general homogenization of empowerment structure of the organization, supporting the “cultural thesis”. However, our analysis also indicate that health professionals with modest empowerment profiles tend to move to extreme cluster profiles after privatization. In addition, existing groups of extreme cluster profiles double in size after privatization, indicating an increased differentiation among hospital staff. Thus, privatization also seems to be related to an increasing polarization of health professionals' ability to deliver high quality care. The study contributes to existing knowledge of the psychological impact of financially driven change in organizations.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
privatization, empowerment, homogenization, differentiation, health care
Research subject Psychology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-69480OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-69480DiVA: diva2:476794
XV European Congress of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP), 25-28 maj 2011, Maastricht, Nederländerna.