Unit IV 1. A corporation's structure and culture may be its internal strengths by giving the corporation a unique personality that sets it apart from its competitors. This is especially true for Parkland Health and Hospital System, where there are a number of competitors, all with a similar culture, and difficult to differentiate. This can also be a corporation's greatest weakness, however. This is because the field of health care tends to be quite dense in terms of competition, and many of these competitors are successful simply because they ride the line, so to speak. A corporation that attempts to differentiate itself too much from the competition risks polarizing potential customers. For example, if Parkland Health and Hospital System, located in Dallas, Texas, had a culture of treating patients extremely quickly, it would gain customers who need healthcare with haste, but polarize customers who would rather receive health care slower, but with more care. One of the greatest weaknesses of Parkland Health and Hospital System is the departure of its CEO, as well as other top-level management. This can be used to the companies advantage by using it as a part of the corporate culture. That is to say, in the interim, before new top-level management is selected, the corporation could use these departures as evidence of the company's strong will to survive, and use the sheer amount of business it continues to receive as evidence of this fact.
A more direct approach to the loss of upper management would be to find replacements as quickly as possible, devoting a great deal of time and effort into doing so, which will allow the corporation to be on equal footing with its competitors. Parkland Health and Hospital System also has structural strengths that will ensure its long-term survivability, such as the construction of a new state-of-the-art facility in 2014, as well as a strong, diverse workforce, transportation system, and Burn Unit, which is nationally ranked. All of these strengths are multiplied when their usefulness as public relations is considered, as these strengths make strong arguments for potential new patients to choose Parkland Health and Hospital System over its competitors.
2. One of the greatest socio-cultural trends in the US that are also transforming the world is the general stagnation of Americans' health, particularly its youth (Rutter, 367-371). Much of this, it is theorized, is psychological, as today's youth are comparing themselves to their baby boomer parents (Rutter 369). However, there are also objective criteria for determining the decline of health in youth. For example, today's youth have not adopted the general health regimes of diet and exercise as their parents largely did, leading to an increase in health problems. This has led to the second socio-cultural trend, and perhaps America's most famous: obesity. In fact, one study shows that obesity has increased to over 25 percent in America, which is having profound effects on the state of healthcare in America (Bassett et al, 2008). Another sociocultural trend is the economic effects of numerous healthcare incentives and measures taken by the United States. For example, the recent implementation of what is known as "Obamacare" is having long-reaching effects on both the healthcare ecosystem of the United States and the rest of the world by reducing healthcare spending, it is estimated, by 30 percent (Feldstein, 2009). Furthermore, Obamacare will also require all Americans to have some form of health insurance, which has a number of both advantages and drawbacks, such as ensuring more business for healthcare facilities, but also causing more Americans to "ration" their healthcare (Feldstein, 2009).
Lastly, the fourth sociocultural trend is the deterioration of the economic environment for health care. One article found that health-economics experts have found that there is still a great deal of private healthcare spending because of problems with insurance, such as employer health insurance that is deductible by the employer, but not included in the taxable income of the employee, leading to a culture of distrust for the healthcare fields (Feldstein, 2009). This, along with many other sociocultural problems, has led to a crisis of sorts in both the United States and the world.
Unit V 1. Outsourcing, quite simply, is the transitioning of a particular business or business process to a third party, often one that is out of the nation's boundaries; a common practice in the United States (Barthelemy, 2003). However, outsourcing is a double-edged sword. There are seven major errors in outsourcing that Parkland Health would do well to avoid. The first is simple: outsourcing activities that should not be outsourced (Barthelemy, 2003). This means saving time and money by performing business domestically, when possible. The second is selecting the wrong vendor (Barthelemy, 2003). This can mean the difference between great service and products, and horrible PR, as oftentimes outsourcing can backfire and ruin a company's reputation (Barthelemy, 2003). The third is writing a poor contract, which can lead to problematic loopholes and potential lost profits, along with a slew of other problems (Barthelemy, 2003). The fourth is overlooking personnel issues, which can oftentimes be more urgent than particular budget issues (Barthelemy, 2003). The fifth error is losing control over the outsourced activity, which can cause exorbitant costs in addition to a lessened reputation for the company (Barthelemy, 2003). The sixth error is overlooking the hidden costs of outsourcing, which can oftentimes outweigh some of the cost benefits of outsourcing. Lastly, the seventh error is failing to plan an exit strategy, which can lead to severe damage to the finances of the company, or even the company itself (Barthelemy, 2003).
2. International entry is a fairly broad, yet crucial, topic for many fledgling businesses looking to expand and incorporate international healthcare trends. The first method of international entry is licensing, which is where the parent company sells the rights to sell its product or service in another country, which benefits the recipient because they have the parent company's strong brand name to bring in customers (Hill, 1990). The second method is joint ventures, especially with an international company. This is where a business teams up with another business in a foreign market, splitting the profits while maximizing the customer base in the process (Hill, 1990). The third method is exporting. This relatively low-risk method is where a company simply allows its products to be shipped to international areas overseas, allowing international customers to have a taste of their product, potentially increasing customer interest and profits (Hill, 1990). Lastly, the fourth method is franchising, which is where the business grants another business to open a business as an extension of the parent business, which increases total profits for both businesses involved (Hill, 1990).
Unit VI 1. While downsizing is an unfortunate reality for many companies, there are six guidelines to follow that make downsizing much easier and more efficient. First, downsizing should be done as privately as possible, as downsizing is generally considered bad news, and having private information about a company downsizing before it is officially known could spell problems for the company (Cameron, 1994). The second is to downsize in person. Having a downsizing talk with an employee face-to-face is crucial, as it simplifies the process by cutting out the middleman, so to speak, and leaving no room for misinterpretation, streamlining the process (Cameron, 1994). The third is to treat employees with respect at all times. This means giving the employees the straight facts about why the company is downsizing and, if necessary, providing assets such as career counseling or some form of financial compensation to the employee (Cameron, 1994). Fourth, a business should choose the right employees to lay off when downsizing. This will ensure that only the weakest links, even if those particular links are still great at their jobs, are being laid off (Cameron, 1994). A business should look at downsizing completely objectively, and only lay off the least productive employees, and allow no room for favoritism (Cameron, 1994). The fifth guideline is to simply time the downsizing appropriately, which often means downsizing at a time when the company can afford the loss of manpower (Cameron, 1994). It also entails actually laying off the employees at the right times so as to minimize the stress and emotional toll the layoff has for the affected employee(s) as well as all other members of the business (Cameron, 1994). Finally, the sixth guideline is to always be thinking ahead when downsizing. This means a business should be looking at the advantages downsizing will bring to the company, as well as the disadvantages from the loss of manpower, and make a decision accordingly (Cameron, 1994). Downsizing is generally a painful time for businesses, but it is a crucial step to reducing costs and streamlining the company structure.
2. Culture most definitely follows strategy. The primary reason for this is simple: a company establishes a solid foundation for itself first by designing and implementing strategies that it requires to survive, and, through these strategies, a unique company culture is born. This strategy is essentially a commonly-held vision for the business that is shared collectively among the upper-management of a company (Johnson, 1992). The culture of a company, meanwhile, comes about as a result of the pre-existing strategy as a way of identifying the unique strategies of a company more accurately (Johnson, 1992). It should be noted, however, that the process of developing a common strategy and subsequent culture for a company can oftentimes take an extremely long time, oftentimes for the entire lifetime of a company, as the underlying strategy for a company continues to evolve, and the culture along with it (Johnson, 1992). While ensuring compatibility between a company's culture and its strategy is crucial, it is oftentimes unnecessary, as the two are, in many cases, inexorably linked and do not require any interference from management to ensure they are compatible (Johnson, 1992). The problem of culture and strategy within a company is oftentimes overcomplicated, and the simplest solution to a problem is, in many cases, the most effective. This philosophy is applicable here, as company culture should be left to rely on the company's strategy entirely and allow them to grow separated yet equal with one another.
Barthelemy, J. (2003). The Seven Deadly Sins of Outsourcing. The Academy of Management Executive, 17(2), 87-98.
Bassett Jr., D. R., Pucher, J., Buehler, R., Thompson, D. L., & Crouter, S. E. (2008). Walking, cycling, and obesity rates in Europe, North America, and Australia. Journal of physical activity & health, 5(6). 804.
Cameron, K. S. (1994). Strategies for Successful Organizational Downsizing. Human Resource Management, 33(2), 189-211.
Feldstein, M. (2009). Obamacare is All About Rationing. Wall Street Journal.
Hill, C. W., Hwang, P., & Kim, W. C. (1990). An Eclectic Theory of the Choice of International Entry Mode. Strategic Management Journal, 11(2), 117-128.
Johnson, G. (1992). Managing Strategic Change—Strategy, Culture and Action. Long Range Planning, 25(1), 28-36.
Robins, L. (1997). 11. Sociocultural trends affecting the prevalence of adolescent problems. Psychosocial Disturbances in Young People: Challenges for Prevention, 367-371.