Memorial Hospital Case Study

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Memorial Hospital Case Study

Memorial Hospital Case Study uses a series of communication between different level and functional hospital employees to paint a picture of how this hospital operates. This paper will analyze and summarize key characteristics underlining the organization structure, management style and leadership, identify major challenges and recommend workable solutions.



14 department heads report to the president directly. “Coordination between us and other departments seem to be more serious problem then coordination between shifts of nurses.” is raised in a nurse meeting. These are two indications that Memorial Hospital has a silo type of divisional organization structure. The common communication and coordination challenges of silo structure are further demonstrated when the medical record administrator asked the departments heads for patient documentation and records in their monthly strategic planning meeting with little luck, and eventually had to ask a secretary friend, almost a month later, for help getting the documentation. The administrator stated “It is so easy to get things done when you are on friendly terms with people. That would have taken a week if I had gone through the channels.” The fact that the administrator had to request documentation from department heads in a strategic planning meeting and the fact that pertinent documents are not completed for a serious malpractice incidence show major weakness in process and communication channel. Organization culture is major factor underlining the success of a company. The president stated “I’ve got to find a way to convince our penny-pinching board of trustees to expand the surgical intensive care unit.” He also thinks the cost of lawsuit can be a good justification to fund the additional intensive care unit. When a hospital does not take health needs as the number one priority and focus on dollar and cents instead, one feasible result is poor service which leads to decrease of patients and revenue, increase of malpractice risk and damage the hospital profit at the end.


Having 14 department heads in regular meeting and stating “Everybody from executive housekeeper to the vice president for nursing sees me about something almost everyday”, Memorial Hospital president obviously is subscribing to management theory X. Health care is an extremely complicated industry with very specialized disciplines in every single operation. It is not possible for one manager to be knowledgeable enough and has the capacity to manage such complex and diversified operation directly. The president appears to recognize that the hospital has grown too big for one manager to handle and solicited help from a university professor to evaluate the organization structure.


There is something fundamentally wrong when a long term planning meeting is scheduled on a monthly basis with all 14 department heads attending and every meeting is taken over by a production issue and ended discussing tactical solutions. Long term strategic goal(s) is not an on-going monthly discussion agenda. Long term plan sets a future target for the hospital and it may take years to reach the goal(s). Annual planning with quarterly or half year review of progress is a common practice. Frequent meeting indicates there is no long term plan or potential constant change to a long term plan, both scenarios basically invalidate the purpose of having a long term plan. Decision making at Memorial Hospital appears to be made via consensus and compromise. The surgeon who operated on Mr. Fillerey made a serious complain to nurse department that his instruction was not followed and that may have been a reason for Mr. Fillery’s early demise. The head nurses met and discussed and the end conclusion was for the vice president to raise the coordination between department issue in the next department heads’ meeting. When...
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