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Clin Lab Manage Rev. 1996 Jan-Feb;10(1):18-24.

The health-care manager's guide to managing change in challenging times.

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CHR/InterVista, Mt. Arlington, NJ, USA.


Fifteen years ago, Bill Gates was a college dropout working for a four-member, fledgling company in New Mexico. Today, he is the richest man in America and the head of perhaps the most powerful company in recent corporate history. Ten years ago, managed health care was merely a concept discussed in academic and industry observer circles. Now it is a norm in almost every health-care organization nationally. Five years ago, health-care professionals in every discipline believed the maxim that, ¿as long as people get sick, health-care professionals will have jobs.¿ In 1995, health-care executives have alternately referred to the widescale process of laying off employees as reengineering, rightsizing, downsizing, or RIF (reduction in force). With this massive amount of change, both societally and professionally, health-care managers have been contending with the change management process. Although a breadth of concepts borrowed from other industries and a plethora of conceptual practicums have entered the health-care educational realm, a straightforward, immediately useful approach to managing change is probably more beneficial, as the need to manage change quickly and effectively becomes the paramount criterion for health-care management success in the second half of this decade of change. In this article we will explore the four areas where mistakes are made most frequently by leaders in the change process, and we will provide specific strategies to not only avoid these mistakes but moreover reduce resistance to change, activate positive action, and ultimately improve performance through optimum staff contribution. The four critical areas we will explore are the reasons for resistance to change, the management of the proactive phase of change, creating staff interdependence, and key leadership roles for change management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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