Healthcare: Organizational Structure and Culture


Healthcare service providers work in different environments with different organizational structures. However, most of the structures are formal with some elements of the informal structure (Grant, 2010). The structures are based on the matrix design and communication within the environment is based on emails and other asynchronous and synchronous methods that allow for real-time responses, depending on the underlying situation.

Type of organizational structure

The organizational structure under consideration is a formal one consisting of some components of the informal structure and the team structure (Linnenluecke & Griffiths, 2010). Within the structure are embedded departments that serve different purposes such as occupational therapy, speech/language pathology, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, and pharmacy among others.

The tasks, positions, responsibilities, and relationships among employees in different departments of the organization occur in designated patterns that are defined in a less centralized service-oriented structure. According to Keyton (2010), an effective coordination and communication mechanism enables employees to carry out their tasks properly. There is a unity of command based on the reporting relationships established in each department. The informal component is characterized by a relationship among employees in each department and provides a system that allows workers to work towards fulfilling their objectives and social satisfaction. There is a relationship between patients and healthcare workers under the management of the hospital with an unbroken line of authority stretching from the directors, executives, departmental administrators, patient care managers, and other service providers.

The environment of client-centered care

The organizational structure creates an environment of client-centered care by clustering different departments into manageable logical units each with a specific task to perform for the delivery of healthcare services to the patient. Each cluster consists of a manageable number of healthcare providers who are under the manager’s span of control (Porter, 2010). The decision-making process is decentralized and spread among employees including the board of directors and accommodates patient involvement. Because of the nature of the services delivered to the patient, the organizational environment consists of matrix designs. The design allows for functional departmentalization that facilitates the coordination of interdependent and complex activities.

Use of information systems

Using information systems enables those in authority such as patient care managers, departmental administrators, health service providers, directors, and executives to decide the appropriate course of action to take when treating a patient. The information system provides a graphic presentation of the hospital and enables the management and departmental heads to define tasks, information flow, and be accountable besides assigning duties and responsibilities to help the staff to do their work. Information systems provide an environment for the storage of health records that can be easily retrieved for use, provide decision and diagnostic support, enables the treatment of patients through surgical support and simulations, and provide a platform for data exchange.

Communication methods

Keyton (2010) argues that healthcare organizations prefer to use computerized information systems across the organization to create an effective interface between primary care and specialist services. However, other methods such as face-to-face, emails, and phone calls are used frequently to share information within the hospital environment. Some synchronous communication methods are used despite the interruptive nature of the method. When messages are not urgent, asynchronous communication is not used. Besides, the level of interaction, information system user interfaces and communication devices are important for communicating efficiently within the organization.

Decision-making abilities with culture and organization culture

The decision-making abilities are affected by the organizational culture, which is a system of shared meaning and values within the healthcare environment. In general, the underlying culture is the one that defines, controls, and shapes employee behavior in the provision of high-quality services (Grant, 2010). The internal and external environments help to determine the type of medical services and medicine to administer to the patient (Schein, 2010). The intra-hospital domain, which is characterized by service development, staffing, budgeting, quality of service, patient satisfaction, financial performance, and physician relationships depends entirely on the organizational culture.

Those at the management level and primary healthcare service providers make decisions that are influenced by long-term relationships with the patient. Here, a strong culture that engages service providers, enables talent retention and creates energy and momentum within the workplace is crucial.

Influence of generational differences in the workplace

Generational change is necessary for a workplace that keeps on taking new and younger employees while those older employees retire (Von Nordenflycht, 2010). However, it is beneficial because people work in teams, and those more experienced act as the source of knowledge and skills for the less knowledgeable and experienced. The younger generation comes with new ideas and older generations contribute experience and skills.


In conclusion, the hospital environment is a formal organizational structure that consists of informal elements made of a matrix design. Client-centered care is achieved by departmentalizing the organization according to tasks, roles, and responsibilities. Here, generational differences affect the way work is done because different generations make different contributions to the workplace.


Grant, R. M. (2010). Contemporary strategy analysis and cases: text and cases. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Linnenluecke, M. K., & Griffiths, A. (2010). Corporate sustainability and organizational culture. Journal of world business, 45(4), 357-366.

Keyton, J. (2010). Communication and organizational culture: A key to understanding work experiences. New York: Sage Publications.

Porter, M. E. (2010). What is value in health care?. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(26), 2477-2481.

Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Von Nordenflycht, A. (2010). What is a professional service firm? Toward a theory and taxonomy of knowledge-intensive firms. Academy of Management Review, 35(1), 155-174.

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