Lean Processes Case Study

10 October 2016

The first perspective of organizational effectiveness the hospitals are utilizing is an organizational learning perspective. The hospitals have identified in their studies that several sources of capital influence their effectiveness. Specifically, human and structural capitals are being utilized to benefit the organization. “Lean works because it is based on doctors, nurses, and other staff leading the process and telling us what adds value and what doesn’t. They are the ones who know.

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Organizational Behavior: Case Study 1. 1. McGraw-Hill). Here, an emphasis is placed on human capital, and the knowledge, experience, and know-how hospital employees bring to the process. By bringing these individuals into the decision making process who have their hands in the work day in and day out, the outcome will be a more efficient, and smoothly running operation as evidenced by the case study. Building on the human capital used, the hospitals are also using a high performance work practice perspective.

The hospital is packaging together the best use of their organizational practices to create a competitive edge. Employee involvement is key, and has strengthened motivation and improved overall decision-making. By imploring all employees to have a say in how their organization is run, the end product is greater than the sum of its parts. Lastly, I see the lean process using portions of the open system perspective. In many of the hospitals cited, a deep look at how their internal systems were being used was a major factor in how to improve overall.

Coordination, productivity, and innovation (all aspects of the open systems perspective), were all used to make sure the inputs created the most effective outputs. 2. Does lean management ignore some perspectives of organizational effectiveness? If so, what are the unintended consequences of these practices that might undermine, rather than improve, an organization’s effectiveness? Absolutely, there are quite a few perspectives of organizational effectiveness that could be ignored with hospitals moving towards lean practices.

The first I see is a potential to limit the stakeholder perspective. Although the benefit is quicker and more efficient customer care, at what expense does that come from at the stakeholders who are really the customers and patients? There is a push from hospital staff to make their practices work to their benefit, but at the end of the day, will patients feel rushed, or pushed through the process like cattle? Is it possible we lose some of the personal care aspect in a surgical setting, just to push a patient in and out of the door?

Maybe profits and efficiency go up, but if one truly sees the patients as stakeholders, there is a possible conflict. Not to mention, depending on how far the hospitals take their efficiency measures, employees could also feel the pressure of rushing patients through a defined measured process. Do employees as stakeholders get forgotten in this case? This also leads directly into a possibility of ignoring the corporate social responsibility aspect.

If a company’s role is to really look beyond their bottom line, and make a positive difference in their communities and our society, does this overbearing style of lean management obtain that goal? I think that depends on how you gauge corporate social responsibility. If we base the argument solely on number of surgeries or patients seen and profit, then yes maybe the hospitals are operating in a socially responsible manner. If we argue that there is a genuine lack of personal care in lean management of a hospital, then no, maybe the hospitals are not operating in a socially responsible manner.

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