Organizational Analysis for Veterans Health Administration Essay

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The organization being analyzed is the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which is the largest integrated healthcare system in the U.S. VHA is a component of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and it is led by the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health. The organization is charged with implementing medical assistance programs for Veterans Affairs (VA) by administering and operating various VA medical centers. The organization offers it care service at 1,243 healthcare facilities that include 170 VA medical centers and 1,063 outpatient sites. VHA serves over 9 million veterans each year (Veterans Health Administration, n.d.). The mission statement for the organization is "To fulfill President Lincoln's promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans."

The VHA medical centers offer a wide range of services that include traditional hospital-based services like surgery, mental health, pharmacy, critical care, orthopedics, physical therapy, and radiology. A majority of the medical centers offer specialty services like neurology, dermatology, audiology & speech pathology, dental, urology, geriatrics, and oncology. In essence, VHA aims to provide exceptional healthcare to American Veterans in order to improve their lives and well-being. The development of the community begins with taking care of the veterans. When the lives of the veterans have improved the lives of the community are also improved. Therefore, the organization is fulfilling the core value of responsible stewardship by developing the community. Based on standard evidence-based guidelines it has been established that VHA care by most measures is equal to or sometimes better than the care provided in private hospitals (Veterans Health Administration, n.d.). In terms of the workforce within the VA, the VHA is noted to have the highest number of employees than all the other elements of VA combined.

Human Relations Theory

Human relations theory is a management approach that is based on the idea that all employees are motivated not only by financial rewards, but by a range of social factors like praise, pride in one's work, a sense of belonging, and feelings of achievement. This theory was developed from empirical studies that were conducted in the 1920s and 1930s. The empirical studies are referred to as the Hawthorne studies because they were developed in the Hawthorne plants in the 1920s (Landsberger, 1959). Human relations theory holds that relationships, attitudes, and leadership styles play a vital role in the performance of an organization. The theory indicates that people desire to be part of a supportive team that would facilitate their growth and development. If an organization gives social attention to its employees and encourages the employees to participate, the employees will perceive their work as significant and they will be motivated to increase their productivity, which results in high-quality work. The key concepts of this theory are:

· Individual employees need to be seen as members of a group.

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· Good working conditions and salary are less vital to employees.

· The informal groupings in a workplace have more influence on employees’ behavior.

· It is vital that managers take the social needs of the employees seriously.

VHA provides care for veterans and just like any other healthcare facility there are employee groupings that have been formed that are informal and they mostly consist of employees within the same department, rank, or job. Using the human relations theory, one can see how these informal groupings are beneficial to the employees because they can interact with each other and form social bonds that keep them motivated when working. VHA offers medical services to veterans and a majority of the employees who work for the organization have taken the Hippocratic oath, which means they are not motivated by what they earn, but rather by social factors. Allowing employees to make and maintain these social and informal groups ensures the functions of the organization are not affected and patients receive the best care available. The motivation of the employees is intrinsic and this is the reason why the organization is able to compete with other private healthcare facilities although it is financed by the government. One would expect that the employees would be demotivated and not be willing to offer their services to the veterans. However, this is quite different, the employees are more than willing to take up their roles and perform their duties as required.

Political/Economy Model

The Political/Economy theory focuses on how an organization must adapt to its external environments by stressing the effects that power and resources have on the organization. In order for an agency to survive, it must have legitimacy and political power. Legitimacy refers to the organization having the appropriate legal status and a justification for its existence (Razin, Sadka, & Swagel, 2002). Political power refers to the ability of an organization to influence the entities that make decisions regarding the ability of the organization to function. An agency must also have economic resources in order for it to maintain its location, pay staff, and provide services. Political-economy theory emphasizes on how an organization is dependent on outside resources in order for it to survive. This means that the organization would face pressure from the resource providers for it to function. According to Kirst-Ashman (2013) the more an organization is dependent on resources from providers, the more the resource provider would have an influence on the organization's policies and procedures. This would mean that the organization would be in a constant struggle of negotiating with the resource providers in an attempt to gain as much control over its functions as possible.

VHA is dependent on the government to provide it with the necessary funds….....

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Bruce, K. (2006). Henry S. Dennison, Elton Mayo, and human relations historiography. Management & Organizational History, 1(2), 177-199.

Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2013). Brooks/Cole Empowerment Series: Human Behavior in the Macro Social Environment. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Landsberger, H. A. (1959). Book Note and Review: Human Relations: Job Attitudes: Review of Research and Opinion: SAGE Publications Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA.

Razin, A., Sadka, E., & Swagel, P. (2002). Tax burden and migration: a political economy theory and evidence. Journal of Public Economics, 85(2), 167-190.

Rodriguez-Clare, A. (2007). A political-economy theory of trade agreements. The American Economic Review, 97(4), 1374-1406.
Veterans Health Administration. (n.d.). About VHA. from

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