Bachelor Of Primary Health Care Business Essay

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Name the four approaches to strategy outlined in reading 1.1 and give a brief description of each one.

The four approaches to strategy are:

Classical: profitability is the ultimate goal achieved by rational planning. This is a top-down method of strategy where the Manager makes all the decisions.

Evolutionary: this strategy does not rely on top management to plan and act rationally. Rather than depending on managers, companies that adopt this strategy focus on selecting markets that will provide profit. 'Business success is generally the result of happenstance - being at the right place at the right time' (Whittington 2001).

Processual: This approach to strategy considers the flaws of human nature. This method includes all members of the company and acknowledges everyone's expertise. In this case the manager does not make all the decisions, the members of the organisation are all a part of decision making. This approach recognises that the real world presents imperfections and that sometimes we have to settle for less.

Systemic: This approach is not only about the people who work within the organisation but includes other social groups with common interests. Cultural aspects of the local community are also considered. Those who follow this strategy believe that economic activity cannot be separated from social relations such as family, state or religion. This strategy depends on the social environment of the business/organisation.

What is the role of top management in setting an organisation's direction?

When setting an organisation's direction the role of top management is to set guidelines and protocols that reflect the organisations:

Mission Statement

Vision for the future


How can commitment to the organisation's mission be strengthened?

An organisation's commitment to their primary mission (mission statement) can be strengthened by establishing and maintaining positive relationships with all stakeholders. All functions of the organisation should always reflect their mission and consider why the service/business was originally set up.

What are some of the arguments for and against strategic planning?

Arguments for strategic planning

An organisation's strategic planning allows an organisation to develop aims and objectives that reflect the mission statement. Strategic planning should enable evaluation, flexibility, consistency in approach, perspective and combines theory and practice.

Arguments against strategic planning

Strategic planning can limit progress if organisation practices are not reviewed and evaluated to ensure that plans set in place are working.

In some cases organisations are unwilling to acknowledge or adapt to changes needed to ensure that their mission and vision for the future is met. Within the social and economic environment of the organisation if strategic plans are not put into practice, growth and outcomes will be impacted.

Week 2

Topic: Workforce management

Objectives/Learning outcomes

Identify key principles in workforce management (such as ensuring access for staff development, developing good employee relations, and building supportive teams in the workplace).


Assignment 1

Complete a series of short answer questions in the Study Guide related to prescribed readings.


Reading 2.1

This reading describes the difference between managers and leaders and outlines some of the associated theories.

Reading 2.2

Looks at management skills for team leaders and the development of team based management.

Reading 2.3

Teams are a very important part of any organisation and reading 2.3 will give you some strategies for making teams even more effective. Please do not attempt any of the exercises in this reading at this stage.

Reading 2.4

Further examines the team approach to staff management.

Reading 2.5, 2.6, 2.7 and 2.8

Readings 2.5, 2.6, 2.7 and 2.8 will give you an idea of some of the key influences on employment relations and disputes in the workplace.

Reading 2.9

Sickness is not only a key indicator of labour productivity it can also be a very good indicator of employment relations within the organisation as illustrated by reading 2.6.

Explain the difference between managers and leaders.

Managers can be autocratic in their manner towards staff. The flow of information and direction is top down. In the extreme a manager can have a hierarchical approach in all affairs that affect the organisations functions and may be rigid in policy and ignore the values or contributions of others within the organisation.

Alternately, a leader is someone who works as part of a decision making team or group. In this case a leaders approach to management is inclusive of staff and recognises that everyone has their own individual talent and value to the organisation. This approach sees each member as equals and their contribution is valued. Leaders encourage higher levels of communication which leads to staff and client satisfaction.

List the potential strengths and weaknesses of teams.

A potential strength of teams is that teamwork recognises and utilises the diversity of individual strengths and talents. Teamwork allows for staff to participate in decision makeing and provides an avenue for the sharing of information across all areas within the organisation. Other strengths include improved productivity and a reduction in middle-management costs.

Teamwork can be seen by some as an attempt by management to increase staff accountability while reducing staff levels in middle management. There is always the possibility that individuals may be misunderstood because they are not team players. In this respect valuable talent may be lost to the organisation because of team dynamics.

What are the three main issues which can be the cause of industrial conflict in the workplace? Give an example of one of these issues from your own working life.

The 3 main causes of industrial conflict are:

Employee Driven Causes of Industrial Conflict eg. working conditions

Employer Initiated Causes of Industrial Conflict eg. organisational restructuring

External Causes of Industrial Conflict eg. government policy

An issue that has had an impact on my own working life relates to an External Cause of Industrial Conflict. The government decision to axe the CDEP program in my region has limited my ability to participate in employment. Although CDEP did not allow me fulltime employment, it provided an opportunity to engage in projects of benefit to my community and also provided a small financial benefit for participation.

What do you think are the main causes of employee absenteeism in the workplace?

High work demands and high job insecurity are major causes of employee absenteeism in the workplace. These two causes are considered as 'adverse work conditions'.

Research conducted by Rennie et al describes the pathway relationship between adverse work conditions, mental or physical health and sickness absence. Each is interconnected and the impact on the workers mental or physical health places them at risk of developing acute illnesses.

Health problems associated with adverse work conditions are anxiety and depression. Research suggests that 'work conditions that erode mental health may not only impair productivity but also add to the national burden of disease and disability'. (Rennie et al)

Week 3

Topic: Information and knowledge management

Objectives/Learning outcomes

Develop contemporary strategies for obtaining, analysing, using and disseminating information.


Assignment 1

Complete a series of short answer questions in the Study Guide related to prescribed readings.


Reading 3.1

This first reading gives an introduction to the area of knowledge management.

Reading 3.2

Reading 3.2 will build on the introduction in reading 3.1 and give you an overview of the complete picture of the area of knowledge management.

Reading 3.3

While Reading 3.3 looks at what you need to consider when developing an information management policy for your organisation.

Reading 3.4

A necessary part of the manager's job is to pass on important information to other employees. Reading 3.4 looks at communication in the context of larger groups or organisations.

Reading 3.5

As well as communicating information within an organisation it is also necessary to communicate with outside organisations.

Reading 3.6

Looks at the difficulties experienced by community controlled health services in collecting and reporting statistics on the work they undertake.

List the different schools of thought in relation to Knowledge Management and briefly describe each one.

Three different schools of thought in relation to Knowledge Management are:

Tacit Knowledge

Explicit Knowledge

Cultural Knowledge

Tacit knowledge refers to the knowledge a person gains through their own lived experiences. An example of tacit knowledge is that of the Health Worker who has diabetes and who provides dietary advice for clients diagnosed with the same disease.

Explicit Knowledge refers to the rules and procedures of an organisation. An example of this is the knowledge that an employee has about referral procedures in a health clinic.

Cultural Knowledge refers to the 'environment in which the company and the individual (within the company) operate'. (Baets 2005) An example of cultural knowledge is that of an Indigenous person working in a remote health clinic. This worker would have knowledge of local customs ie. illness associated with Indigenous Law not a diagnosed medical condition.

Reading 3.4 asks the following questions in regards to your own values you bring to the workplace:

What are the influences in your practice?

How far do your own values coincide with your workplace's values?

And do you fit in or are you lost?

Briefly reflect on these questions using your current or most recent workplace.

Values that influence my practice in the workplace are those values that were imparted from my elders that are rooted in social justice. My belief in a fair and just society is the major influence. This reflects my professional belief that all clients also should be treated fairly and justly.

These values, fairness and justice have coincided with workplace values. At times my values come in conflict with protocols and guidelines in the workplace and call for compromise on my part.

Although at times compromise is required, good education provided in the workplace should provide tools for dealing with conflict that arises from conflicting values.

Week 4

Topic: Principles of effective leadership

Objectives/Learning outcomes

Discuss key personal and professional competencies required for effective leadership.


Assignment 1

Complete a series of short answer questions in the Study Guide related to prescribed readings.


Reading 4.1

Reading 4.1 will give you an idea of the key personal and professional competencies required for effective leadership such as prioritising, time management, delegation and professional development.

Reading 4.2

This reading specifically looks at Indigenous leadership during the frontier conflicts from 1788 to 1830. It is the first part of a two part series. The second part of this series which looks at Indigenous leadership in contemporary times was not available at the time of writing this study guide.

What are some of the most common time wasters and time savers you can identify in your own working life?

Conflicting demands can prevent effective time management. The ability to prioritise is necessary to ensure productivity as opposed to wasting time. Another example is indecision resulting from confused lines of authority. Doing instead of delegating when someone else is capable of performing the same task can be draining, a waste of time and also a waste of resources. Socialising at the expense of work through telephone interruptions (personal business) or drop in visitors are time wasters and it is important to be able to say 'no'.

Clear lines of communication and authority are vital to all aspects of time management, this may involve rules being set at staff meetings.

Identify your competence against your job description.

Identify what is expected of you by referring to your current (or a past) job description and listing the key duties, tasks and activities to be performed in your job - these are your technical competencies.

Position of Operational Services Officer - Qld Health

Core values of Qld Health are caring for people, leadership, respect and integrity.

Key duties:

Assist health care professionals in the provision of patient care by performing a range of non professional tasks

Cleaning duties as required, according to workplace health and safety and hygiene standards

Distribute, collect and collate patients dietary needs

Porter and trolley patients and provide informal communication services

Abide by all standards, policies and departmental guidelines

How do you measure up?

Within this work setting I felt that I was able to meet the core values of Qld Health. In the role of assisting health care professionals I achieved job satisfaction except when lines of communication or instructions were not explicit.

Within the hospital setting it is an expectation that in emergency situations, we all are able to take on a leadership role dependent on our scope of practice. Teamwork is an important aspect of stepping up, this requires trust and respect of co-workers, a two way approach.

The provision of informal communication with patients is an integral part of work, this can determine the patients experience of being in hospital and care provided. Patient's confidentiality was not only mandatory but also a personal value that respects another's privacy.

I believe I more than satisfied the requirements of this position.

Week 5

Topic: Processes for continuous improvement and innovation.

Objectives/Learning outcomes

Identify processes for continuous improvement and innovation in human services management.


Assignment 1

Complete a series of short answer questions in the Study Guide related to prescribed readings.


Reading 5.1

Organisations must continually improve and learn from their experiences. Reading 5.1 examines how the concepts of organisational culture, organisational learning and total quality management can assist in developing organisational learning and improvement.

Reading 5.2

Reading 5.2 will take you through the journey of implementing evidence-based management. These two readings are an introduction to continuous improvement in management and you will be required to read further on this topic as you complete assignment 3 later in this unit.

Reading 5.3

Reading 5.3 is an example of utilising diversity management to improve performance.

Reading 5.4

Reading 5.4 gives ideas for managing effective and sustainable health services through continuous quality improvement.

This section does not have any questions as you will examine this topic in a lot more detail in your future assignments for this unit.

Bachelor of Primary Health Care

PHC201 Management 2

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