Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 118, Issue 3, pp 543–560 | Cite as

The Costs of Organisational Injustice in the Hungarian Health Care System

Article

Abstract

The new Hungarian Labour Code allows informal payments to be accepted, subject only to the prior permission of the employer. In Hungary, the area most affected is Health Care, where informal payments to medical staff are common. The article assesses the practice on ethical terms, focusing on organisational justice. It includes an analysis of distributional injustice, that is, of non-equitable payments to professionals, on the distribution of payments depending on the specialisation and status of the doctor, on his or her rights to allocate Health Care resources and/or on how assertive he or she is. We show, by means of a content analysis of internet postings and of interviews with physicians, the feelings and attitudes of both patients and doctors—thus enabling us to trace interactional and procedural injustice and portray the main driving forces of informal payment with causal loops. We use a new approach (a system dynamics computer simulation) to demonstrate how informal payments influence therapy procedures. The example of treating the common skin disease of psoriasis examines the specific behaviour of doctors in their everyday practice and estimates the extent to which the prescription of unnecessary or more expensive therapy increases the costs. With this multi-method approach, we demonstrate that the legislation allowing informal payment represents bad ethics, since it enforces organisational injustice, creates mistrust between physicians and patients, decreases performance and increases the total costs paid both by society and the Health Insurance Fund. Informal payments distort the allocation of resources, enforce discrimination based solely on money, violate the concept of solidarity and limit Human Rights in terms of health.

Keywords

Business ethics Organisational justice Health system Corruption Informal payments Computer simulation System dynamics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Pécs, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Business and Management StudiesPécsHungary

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