Comparing Sustainability Initiatives in Private and Public Healthcare Sectors: An Abstract
Sustainability initiatives are those which are dedicated to improving performance along the triple bottom line (environmental, social, and economic). However, it is argued that sustainability initiatives are easier to formulate than to implement (Gimenez and Tachizawa 2012).
This study provides a foundation for understanding the organizational logics and key differentiators between private and public hospitals. In doing so, the study seeks to provide a conceptual foundation for the organizational positioning and planning of sustainability initiatives, highlighting differences between private and public sectors.
This case study was carried out in the healthcare industry of Spain. The selection of only one industry avoided the occurrence of contextual bias between the studied organizations (Hartline and Jones 1996). The approach used was based on Yin (1994, p.1), who indicates that this was the appropriate way forward to accomplish the research objective. This study is also based on an inductive approach (Thomas 2006).
The findings indicate that the sustainability initiatives which apply to public hospitals are based on a top-down logic, while the private ones are based on a bottom-up logic. This opposing logic between private and public can be explained mainly by the fact that public hospitals are fully integrated into the public healthcare system, while the private ones are not integrated with others. The latter also receive funds from the health ministry as well as from entities of central and local governments, while the private ones receive their funding mostly from private insurance or direct private funds.
The positioning of sustainability initiatives in public hospitals may be characterized as mandatory to the organization. Initiatives are driven by a top-down logic based on a long-term vision and that the organization is fully integrated into the public healthcare system. The positioning of sustainability initiatives in private hospitals may be characterized as optional to the organization. The positioning is driven by a bottom-up logic based on a short-term vision which is marginally integrated into the public healthcare system. The planning of sustainability initiatives in public hospitals can be characterized as entailing structured and continuous actions, while rather improvised and transient in the private ones.
There appear to be three main reasons for the positioning and planning of sustainability initiatives, namely, public or private funding, system integrated or not, and societal requirements.
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