Towards Sustainable Health Care Organizations


  • Mauro ROMANELLI University of Naples Parthenope


Health care organizations have to develop a sustainable path for creating public value by seeking legitimacy for building and maintaining public trust with patients as social and economic institutions creating value and sustaining both health and wealth for people and communities within society. Health care organizations having at disposal decreasing resources and meeting increasing demands of citizens are following an unsustainable path. Designing sustainable health care systems and organizations is emerging as a strategic goal for developing the wealth of people and communities over time. Building sustainable organizations relies on valuing human resources, designing efficient and effective processes, using technology for better managing the relationships within and outside organizations. Sustainable health care organizations tend to rediscover the importance of human resource management and policies for effectively improving communication with patients and building trust-based relationships. While processes of accreditation contribute to legitimizing effectiveness and quality of health care services and efficient processes, introducing and using new information and communication technologies (ICTs) and informatics helps communication leading to restore trust-based relationships between health care institutions and patients for value creation within society.


Abelson, J., Miller, F.A., and Giacomini, M. (2009). What does it mean to trust a health system? A qualitative study of Canadian health care values. Health Policy, 91(1), 63-70.

Aggerholm, K., Easmann Andersen, S., and Thomsen, C. (2011). Conceptualising employer branding in sustainable organizations. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 16(2), 105-123.

Berwick, D.M. (2003). Improvement, trust, and the healthcare workforce. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 12(6), 448-452.

Boxall, P., and Purcell, J. (2003). Strategy and Human Resource Management, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Buchan, J. (2004). What difference does (“good”) HRM make? Human Resources for Health, 2(7), 1-6.

Chen, L., Evans, T., Anand, S., Bufford, H., Chawdhury, M., Cueta, M., Dare, L., Dussault, G., Elzinga, G., Fee, E., Habte, D., Hanvoravanghcai, P., Jacobs, M., Kurowski, C., Michael, S., and Solimano, G. (2004). Human resources for health: overcoming the crisis. The Lancet, 364, 1984-1990.

Coiera, E. (2004). Four rules for the reinvention of health care. Bmj, 328(7449), 1197-1199.

Coiera, E., and Hovenga, E.J.S. (2007). Building a sustainable health system. IMIA Yearbook of Medical Informatics, 2(1), 11-8.

Colombo, G., and Gazzola, P. (2014). Aesthetics and Ethics of the Sustainable Organizations. European Scientific Journal ESJ, 9(10), 291-301.

Deephouse, D.L., and Suchman, M. (2008). Legitimacy in Organizational Institutionalism. In Greenwood R., Oliver C., Sahlin, K., and Suddaby, R. (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism (pp.49-77). London: Sage.

de Lange, D.E., Busch, T., and Delgado-Ceballos, J. (2012). Sustaining sustainability in Organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 110(2), 151-156.

DiMaggio, P.J., and Powell, W.W. (1983). The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields. American Sociological Review, 48(2), 147-160.

Donahue, K.T., and vanOstenberg, P. (2000). Joint Commission International accreditation: relationship to four models of evaluation. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 12(3), 243-246.

Dowd, T.J, Johnson, C., and Ridgeway, C.L. (2006). Legitimacy as a Social Process. Annual Review of Sociology, 32, 53-78.

Dussault, G., and Dubois, C.-A. (2003). Human resources for health policies: a critical component in health policies. Human resources for health, 1(1), 1-16.

Eysenbach, G., (2001). What is e-health? Journal of Medical Internet Research, 3.2

Eysenbach, G., and Diepgen, T.L. (2001). The Role of e-Health and Consumer Health Informatics for Evidence-Based Patient Choice in the 21st Century. Clinics in dermatology, 19(1), 11-17.

Ferlie, E.B., and Shortell, S.M. (2001). Improving the Quality of Health Care in the United Kingdom and the United States: A Framework for Change. The Milbank Quarterly, 79(2), 281-315.

Ferrara, M. (1996). Qualità e organizzazione. Movimento della qualità e modelli del coordinamento. Torino: Giappichelli.

Fineberg, H.V. (2012). A Successful and Sustainable Health System - How to Get There from Here. The New England Journal of Medicine, 366(11), 1020-1027.

Gallagher, J.A., and Goodstein, J. (2002). Fulfilling Institutional Responsibilities in Health Care: Organizational Ethics and the Role of Mission Discernment. Business Ethics Quarterly, 12(4), 433-450.

Gilson, L. (2003). Trust and the development of health care as a social institution. Social Science & Medicen, 56(7), 1453-1468.

Gilson, L. (2006). Trust in health care: theoretical perspective and research needs. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 20(2), 359-375.

Goold, S.D. (2001). Trust and the ethics of health care institutions. Hastings Center Report, 31(6), 26-33.

Gray, B.H. (1997). Trust and Trustworthy Care In the Managed Care Era. Health Affairs, 16(1), 34-49.

Greenfield, D., and Braithwaite, J. (2008). Health sector accreditation research: a systematic review. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 20(3), 172-183.

Harris, C., Cortvriend, P., and Hyde, P. (2007). Human resource management and performance in healthcare organisations. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 21, 4-5. 448-459.

Haugh, H.M., and Talwar, A. (2010). How do corporations embed sustainability across the organization?. Academy of Management learning & education, 9(3), 384-396.

Haux, R., Ammenwerth, E., Herzog, W., and Knaup, P. (2002). Health care in the information society. A prognosis o of the year 2013. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 66(1), 3-21.

Jaafaripooyan, E., Agrizzi, D., and Akbari-Haghighi, A. (2011). Healthcare accreditation systems: further perspectives on performance measures. International Journal for Quality in Health Care Advances Access, 1-12.

Jabbour, C.J.C., and Santos, F.C.A. (2008). The central role of human resource management in the search for sustainable organizations. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19(12), 2133-2154.

Kabene, S.M., Orchard, C., Howard, J.M., Soriano, M.A., and Leduc, R. (2006). The importance of human resources management in health care: a global context. Human Resources for Health, 4(1), 1-17.

Kamoche, K. (1996). Strategic Human Resource Management within a Resource-Capability view of the firm. Journal of Management Studies, 33(2), 213-233.

Leon, R.D. (2013). From the Sustainable Organization to Sustainable Knowledge-Based Organization. Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti Bulletin, Technical Series, 65(2), 63-73.

Mechanic, D. (1996). Changing Medical Organization and the Erosion of Trust. The Milbank Quarterly, 71(4), 171-189.

Mechanic, D. (1998). Public Trust and Initiatives for New Health Care Partnerships. The Milbank Quarterly, 76(2), 281-302.

Meyer, J.W., and Rowan, B. (1977). Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony. American Journal of Sociology, 83(2), 340-363.

Mohrman, S.A., Shani, A.B., and McCracken, A. (2012). Organizing for sustainable health care: the emerging global challenge. In Mohrman, S.A., and Shani, A.B. (Eds.), Organizing for sustainable health care (Vol. 2, pp.1-39). Emerald Group Publishing.

Moore, M.H. (1995). Creating Public Value. Strategic Management in Government. Cambridge: Harvard Business Press.

Oh, H., Rizo, C., Enkin, M., and Jadad, A. (2005). What is eHealth?: a systematic review of published definitions. World Hospitals and Health Services, 41(1), 1-10.

Olsen, I.T. (1998). Sustainability of health care: a framework for analysis. Health Policy and Planning, 13(3), 287-295.

Pfeffer, J. (2010). Building Sustainable Organizations: The Human Factor. Academy of Management Perspectives, 24(1), 34-45.

Plsek, P. (2003). Complexity and the adoption of Innovation in Health Care. Accelerating Quality Improvement in Health Care: Strategies to Accelerate the Diffusion of Evidence-Based Innovations. Washington DC.

Pomey, M.-P., Lemieux-Charles, L., Champagne, F., Angus, D., Shabah, A., and Contandriopoulos, A.-P. (2010). Does accreditation stimulate change? A study of the impact of the accreditation process on Canadian healthcare organizations. Implementation Science, 5(31), 1-14.

Ruef, M., and Scott, W.R. (1998). A Multidimensional Model of Organizational Legitimacy: Hospital Survival in Changing Institutional Environments. Administrative Science Quarterly, 43(4), 877-904.

Schyve, P.M. (2000). The evolution of external quality evaluation: observations from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 12(3), 255-258.

Shaw, C.D., Kutryba, B., Braithwaite, J., Bedlicki, M., and Warunek, A. (2010). Sustainable healthcare accreditation: messages from Europe in 2009. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 22(5), 341-350.

Stanton, P., and Leggat, S.G. (2007). Lost in translation: Exploring the link between HRM and performance in healthcare. Human Resource Management Journal, 17(1), 21-41.

Straten, G.F., Friele, R.D., and Groenewegen, P.P. (2002). Public trust in Dutch health care. Social Science & Medicine, 55(2), 227-234.

Suchman, M.C. (1995). Managing legitimacy, strategic and institutional approaches. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 571-610.

Sverissen, H., and Crisp, B.R. (2004). The sustainability of health promotion interventions for different levels of social organization. Health Promotion International, 19(1), 123-130.

van der Schee, E., Braun, B., Calnan, M., Schnee, M., and Groenewegen, P.P. (2007). Public trust in health care: A comparison of Germany, The Netherlands, and England and Wales. Health Policy, 81(1), 56-67.

West, M.A., Guthrie, J.P., Dawson, J.F., Borrill, C.S., and Carter, M. (2006). Reducing patient mortality in hospitals: The role of human resource management. Journal of Organizational Behaviour, 27(7), 983-1002.

Yang, C.W., Fang, S.C., and Huang, W.M. (2007). Isomorphic pressures, institutional strategies, and knowledge creation in the health care sector. Health Care Management Review, 32(3), 263-270.




How to Cite

ROMANELLI, M. (2017). Towards Sustainable Health Care Organizations. Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy, 5(3), 377–395. Retrieved from