Organizational Structures in Healthcare Essay Example
Organizational Structures in Healthcare Essay Example

Organizational Structures in Healthcare Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1864 words)
  • Published: January 25, 2022
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An organizational structure is a critical component in an organization; an entity depends significantly on the structuring in ensuring that various departments within the organization attain the pre- determined objectives and goals. On the same note, organizational structures differ significantly based on the nature of the organization. For instance, an organizational structure that a health care provider utilizes may differ significantly from the structure in a manufacturing firm. The variances are especially because a structure serves to oversee the operations of an entity, in which case, the activities, and operations within the firm dictate the possible structuring of the organization. The organization structure in my former workplace was overly functional. Essentially, many of the organizations that deal with healthcare provision utilize a functional organizational structure while formatting the various departments.



e Departmental Structuring

Ideally, the design of a functional structure of an organization is that every department is grouped according to the rationale of specialty or the field of specialization. The grouping of the employees is hierarchical ad the reporting authority is at the top. Functional structures thereby adopt a line sort of functionality with a bottom-up sort of makeup. The functional setting in the former workplace thereby operated by establishing functional areas within which each unit had a common function unique to the workers. The unique aspect of functionally structured departments are that they are more technically oriented as opposed to being product oriented; this assertion makes such structures more suitable to a health care provision environment. Besides, the structuring of the organization was more functional given the fact that health care provision is not business oriented by design but rather seeks to develop a balanc

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between health care provision and making profits.

The departments in the former organization were autonomous in the specialty roles although the roles were overrunning depending on the nature of the conditions in question in some instances. The departments included casualty, Anesthetics, diagnostic imaging, ear nose and throat, general surgery, maternity departments, gynecology, oncology and occupational therapy. In essence, looking at all the above department, each of the functional areas is set up for a unique purpose and operation. The departments each reported to a department head, who in turn reported to the facilities, general manager. However While the departments were unique in their role and operation, there were various operations that required a level of interdepartmental cooperation. For instance, diagnostic imaging as a department was in many instances operating as a universal department given the fact that, most of the conditions required services such x-rays. The vertical form of the organization was essential in ensuring that, while the overall organizational goal related to the entire organization, there were clear distinctions in the way particular organizations conducted their functions.

Collaboration with the Departments

Arguably, collaboration in such a structure requires concerted efforts among the various heads of departments, the junior staff, and the top managers. Factually, the moment an organization operates in compartmentalized settings collaboration becomes an intricate aspect of achieving, as each department tends to forge a unique direction that is distinct from other departments (Burns, Bradley, & Weiner, 2015). For instance, in most cases the process of information flow from the top-level management to the most junior staff would take a long time. On the same note, even after such information tricked from top to bottom, the

manner in which each of the department actualized such directions was distinct. For this reason, while systems within a department seemed to operate well, there were clear signs of a lack of coordination in respect to interdepartmental operations. In certain instances, the registry department, the pharmacy department, and the accounting department seemed like an extension of the organization and did not appear as though they were playing a similar role to the other department.

On the other hand, there were departments that were viewed as more important than others were; this was especially about other departments such as nursing and caregiving, which seemed less fluffing. To this end, the fact that there were clear distinctions in the way in which certain departments were viewed it was daunting to promote an aspect of full collaboration. Notably, even in extents where collaboration was an unavoidable, there were still observable aspects of unwillingness to forge a common direction. In essence, this is could be one of the reasons why collaborative health care has become a key concept in the industry. The realization that, while the functional design is the best in structuring health care systems, there is also a need to develop coordination in the departments with the aim of ensuring harmony in the entire organization is the reason behind the establishment of collaborative techniques in the industry. In the former organization, the need to ensure synergies within the organization was a key reason, behind many team-building engagements, which would prove costly in the end due to the constraints of resources. In this regard, it is observable that unless there is a deliberate action to foster collaboration in functional

structures, organizations using such structures may not fully achieve collective goals.

Efficiency and Smoothness in Operations

One of the key attributes notable in my former organization is the efficiency in operations and the smoothness with which certain tasks were achieved especially when tasks were singular and therefore not requiring interventions from other departments. Agreeably, functional structures are the best about the maximization of functions within a department (Kalam, 2008). The consolidation of certain functions within one subcategory in an organization means that the level of outcome in such settings surpasses expectation, and there are efficiency and effective use of the resources at disposal to conduct such functions. The observation in my former organization was that there was the adequate human resource in every department with the requisite experience and expertise to deliver efficient services to the various patients. The surprising factor was the fact that even while there were constraints in the manner in which departments operated, there were was smooth synergies regarding the various transitions from one department to another. For instance, patient requiring surgery would undergo a successful operation then transit to the inpatient section for admission until recovery without major setbacks. The observation confirms the fact that while there are observable differences in the way in which departments in a functional setting operate in relation to cooperation and collaboration, this aspect does not impede the ability for the structures to oversee smooth transitions of patients from one department to another

Problems of Coordination and Communication

Essentially, the problems in coordination and communication in functional organizations emanate from many issues. The issues were also notable in my former organization and acted as the greatest impediment in ensuring

there is a smooth flow of information and that all activities within the departments lead up to the ultimate organizational goals and objectives. A major obstacle to coordination and communication in functional organizations, which was also synonymous with my former organization, is the apparent misplacement of the point of integration (Jody, 2008). In most instances, the point of integration in functional organizations in too closes to the top and, therefore, fails to realize the challenges that exist at the operations level. Admittedly, in functional structures such as in my former organization, the grouping together of many socialists within one department means that such departments develop mechanisms and structures of handling issues and challenges that are unique to their departments. To this end, communication at the operations level among junior staff and top management is mostly limited to crucial issues that may have tremendous financial or operational implications to the firm.

Essentially, what happens is that each department devises a unique way of handling challenges, which the departmental manager is aware of given the fact they such managers are oblivious to the challenges at the lowest level of operation. In such instances, the top manager rarely gets to communicate directly with the lower level staff and vice-versa. As a result, each department invests ways of handling issues, and this inflicts negatively on any possibility of coordination (Nagarajan, 2006). Similarly, there is an apparent breakdown in vertical communication because to managers are unaware of the challenges faced at the lowest level due to what would be termed as bureaucracy. In the organization that I formally worked, there were instances where top-level managers would make decisions or implement policies

that would never be actualized at the lowest levels. Similarly, there were instances where low and middle level staff would make suggestions on improvements yet such communication will be limited by the vertical structures, where the departmental heads would intentionally or unintentionally fail to complete that all important link. In essence, coordination and communication in functional structures is thereby limited in most instances by the departmental heads who fail in their roles as points of integration (Stokes, 2006). Agreeably, if each departmental head is oblivious of the operations at the lowest level, then it follows that such leaders are unable to foster coordination and effective communication with other departments and the top-level management. Illustratively, the structure seems like many small organizations within one entity each forging a unique agenda.


The first and most important recommendation in functional structures that is aimed to foster coordination and better communication is the elimination of overlong vertical layers of communication that tend to either distort or delay communication thereby limiting the extent of coordination. Notably, the moment a functional structure within an organization establishes an arrangement where vertical layers of communication are short and swift, decision making and the passage of information becomes easier and manageable. Coordination is also bolstered because information flow in and out of the various departments is made easier and possible (Forbes, 2016). The second recommendation would be the introduction of coordination and control specialists within such structures. The role of such specialists is direct and specific, they are appointed to ensure that the requisite synergies within the organization exist. Ideally, while such a role exists for the departmental heads, coordination and control specialists may be

accrued certain privileges that allow the overstepping of protocol in matters that require urgent interventions. In the end, such a setting would serve to create a form of checks and balances for departmental heads that attempt to sustain the status quo.


  1. Burns, L. R., Bradley, E. H., & Weiner, B. J. (2012). Shortell and Kaluzny’s health care management: Organization design & behavior (6th Ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.
  2. Forbes. Com. (2016). Forbes Welcome. Retrieved 20 January 2016, from
  3. Jody, H. G. (2000). The paradox of coordination and control. California Management Review, 42(3), 101-117. Retrieved from
  4. Kalam, Z. D. (2008). Effects of similarity-dissimilarity, team cohesion, and hospital cross-functional team effectiveness on organizational performance (Order No. 3304611). Available from ABI/INFORM Complete. (304817731). Retrieved from
  5. Nagarajan, K. (2005). Project management. New Delhi: New Age InternationalBottom of Form
  6. tokes, A. (2006). A study of the relationships between organizational structures and public relations practitioner roles. University of South Florida Scholar Commons. Retrieved from
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