Nurses are the health organization’s direct link to patients. They implement health standards and the hospital’s policies in their day to day activities. The manner that nurses provide treatment to clients is influenced by their own values and beliefs. The organizational culture that permeates the health organization likewise contributes to the effectiveness of health services.
Organizational culture is defined by Kreitner & Kinicki (2008, as cited in Zhou et al., 2011) as “the set of shared, taken-for-granted, implicit assumptions [which the] group holds and that determine how it perceives, thinks about, and reacts to its various environments” (p.2139). Organizational value pertains to the set of beliefs that are shared by members of the organization, most often by the senior officers. Organizational culture and individual values are not always aligned. When this happens, the organization’s efficiency decreases and patient safety may be threatened.
One example of a conflict between culture and values is the case wherein a new nurse feels that her privacy is intruded by questions about her private life. Since she is a new addition to the staff, she has not been aware that the camaraderie between the old staff resulted from working together for years already. When staff becomes too familiar with each other, they may also extend such attitude towards patients who may feel that asking personal questions intrude their privacy.
Organizational culture is not visible, but it is felt by both providers and clients in the healthcare systems. Effective communication, between and among individuals at the different levels in the organization, can minimize conflicts. This strategy would also lessen frustrations resulting from unmet expectations.
Officers and top-level management have a set of values that they intend to promote to enhance the performance and image of the company. Top level officers need to understand the existing culture being practiced before they can instil organizational values among the members of the organization. Mechanisms that would effectively impart the organizational values need to be planned and implemented. When all members of the organization understand the goals of the organization to go, they will be able to participate in activities that are geared towards that direction.
Boerst, C.N.(2007). Understanding organizations. In R.A.P. Jones (ed.) Nursing Leadership and Management: Theories, Processes and Practice. Philadelphia: F.A.Davis.
Zhou, P. , Bundorf, K., Chang, J., Huang, J.X. & Xue, D. (2011). Organizational Culture and Its Relationship with Hospital Performance in Public Hospitals in China. Health Services Research , 46 (6 Pt. 2): 2139-2160. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01336.x