Managerial work roles of health care executives in the changing environment of academic medical centers

Kristina Lu Guo, Florida International University


The current U.S. health care system faces numerous environmental challenges. To compete and survive, health care organizations are developing strategies to lower costs and increase efficiency and quality. All of these strategies require rapid and precise decision making by top level managers. The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between the environment, made up of unfavorable market conditions and limited resources, and the work roles of top level managers, specifically in the settings of academic medical centers. Managerial work roles are based on the ten work roles developed by Henry Mintzberg, in his book, The Nature of Managerial Work (1973). This research utilized an integrated conceptual framework made up of systems theory in conjunction with role, attribution and contingency theories to illustrate that four most frequently performed Mintzberg's work roles are affected by the two environment dimensions. The study sample consisted of 108 chief executive officers in academic medical centers throughout the United States. The methods included qualitative methods in the form of key informants and case studies and quantitative in the form of a survey questionnaire. Research analysis involved descriptive statistics, reliability tests, correlation, principal component and multivariate analyses. Results indicated that under the market condition of increased revenue based on capitation, the work roles increased. In addition, under the environment dimension of limited resources, the work roles increased when uncompensated care increased while Medicare and non-government funding decreased. Based on these results, a typology of health care managers in academic medical centers was created. Managers could be typed as a strategy-formulator, relationship-builder or task delegator. Therefore, managers who ascertained their types would be able to use this knowledge to build their strengths and develop their weaknesses. Furthermore, organizations could use the typology to identify appropriate roles and responsibilities of managers for their specific needs. Consequently, this research is a valuable tool for understanding health care managerial behaviors that lead to improved decision making. At the same time, this could enhance satisfaction and performance and enable organizations to gain the competitive edge .

Subject Area

Health care|Management

Recommended Citation

Guo, Kristina Lu, "Managerial work roles of health care executives in the changing environment of academic medical centers" (1999). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9922561.