Privatizing health care in times of new public management: Investigating the role of psychological empowerment using cluster analysis
2013 (English)In: PsyCh Journal, ISSN 2046-0252, Vol. 2, no 3, 190-208 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Although privatization within health care is usually justified using arguments based on efficiency and productivity, the empirical investigations underpinning such arguments are few and ambiguous in their results. Presenting a new theoretical and analytical approach to this research field, we argue that psychological empowerment, reflecting individuals' intrinsic change motivation state, is a crucial prerequisite for the transformation of a nonprofit health care organization to a for-profit one. The general aims of this study were to explore empowerment cognitions during a privatization, to relate these to a selection of key work-related outcome variables, and to identify the effects of privatization in terms of individual level changes in empowerment after privatization. A sample of health care workers (n = 210) provided survey longitudinal data that were analyzed using cluster analysis. Eight clusters were identified at both pre- and postprivatization with each cluster mirroring specific empowerment patterns: Empowered, In Control, Quasi-Empowered, Competent/Normed, Reference, Underused, Misfit, and Powerless. The clusters discriminated on positive work attitudes, mental health complaints, and turnover intentions. The analysis also revealed the complexity of privatization in that a homogenization as well as a differentiation tendency was observed, thereby implicating both socio-structural equality and inequality effects. The results highlighted the relevance of allocating importance to health care workers' psychological empowerment during the privatization process, and of viewing such organizational transformations not as simple shifts in the state of affairs, but as nonlinear processes involving dynamic changes in individual perceptions over time.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2013. Vol. 2, no 3, 190-208 p.
cluster analysis, longitudinal design, person-oriented approach, privatization, psychological empowerment
Research subject Psychology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97179DOI: 10.1002/pchj.37OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-97179DiVA: diva2:676201