Assessing organisational culture in a private hospital in the Western Cape
Organisational culture has been one of the most studied and theorised concepts in organisational development. New ways of working, globalisation, increased competition and change in technology have created a greater need for strategic innovation and co-ordination and integration across units (Schein, 1992). Culture is the single most important factor for success or failure and has the greatest potential to effect organisational improvements or hold it back (Deal & Kennedy, 1982; Fowler, 2002). Research suggests that organisational culture, its assessment and management is increasingly viewed as a necessary part of healthcare improvements (Scott, Mannion, Davies & Marshall, 2003). In the health care environment, organisational culture has been associated with several elements of organisational experience and initiatives that contribute to quality, such as nursing care, job satisfaction and patient safety (Boan & Funderburk, 2003). In order to implement strategic initiatives or performance improvement interventions, it is important that an organisation understands the current status of its organisational culture. The best way to gain understanding of the culture is by assessing it (Davidson, 2004). he aim of the research was to assess the organisational culture of a private hospital in the Western Cape. For the purpose of this study a quantitative methodology adopted used utilising purposive sampling. The sample (n = 221) was inclusive of males and females and comprised of permanent and contract employees extending across the following departments: Human Resources, Patient Administration, Pharmacy, Technical, Support Services and Nursing. The nursing department was the largest representative group of the sample. The sample also included of medi-staff, management and an additional small hospital that reports to the management team. The Denison Organisational Culture Survey was used to gather data for the study. The Survey measures four culture traits, namely, involvement, consistency, adaptability and mission. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the data. Results indicated that employees perceived involvement, consistency, adaptability and mission positively. Furthermore, there were no significant differences found for consistency and sense of mission by employees in different departments. There were several limitations of the study. Amongst others, the results cannot be generalised to the broader population of all private hospitals as the findings are unique to the particular organisation. Secondly, the Denison Organisational Culture Survey has only been validated in a financial organisation in South Africa. A recommendation for further research would be to utilise quantitative as well as qualitative methodology to add to the existing body of knowledge.