Shared Values and Diverse Ideas in a Healthcare Environment

Shared Values and Diverse Ideas in a Healthcare Environment

In many organizations, and indeed the healthcare environment, there lie many unique and shared value systems.An organization involved in healthcare provisionhas various departments and people, including professional and non-professional staff, communities and patients. The lifeways of the people employed in such institutionsexemplify varied ways of thinking, different attitudes towards people and illnesses, multiple cultures, and the practice of work itself.At the same time, the organization endeavors to have a system of shared values that can be identified within the organization. In such a milieu, it becomes challenging to achieve common ground. If coexistence between a system of shared valuesand diverse ideas can be established, a good foundation for growth and attainmentis established in an organization.This paper discusses the concepts of shared values and diversity in ideas. It begins by presenting a discussion of the significance of both shared values and diverse ideas to an organization, followed by suggestions of how shared values and diverse ideas can coexist in a health care environment. It concludes by presenting a recap of what has been presented in the paper.


Similar to other organizations, there is great staff diversity in healthcare institutions; from small practices, to individual hospitals, to large integrated delivery systems. Each comes with unique strengths and frailties, and each plays an important role in the delivery of high-quality, high-value health care.According toBarnum & Kerfoot(1995), various organizational factors have been shown to influence patient outcomes and care quality. One of the identified main organizational factorsis shared values and culture, others being, diversity in ideas,good coordination, experience with problem solving and good communication.

The Significance of Shared Values to an Organization

Shared values play a critical role in the performance of any organization, but especially so in a healthcare environment where employees exemplifydifferent thinking, different attitudes towards patients, illnesses, and the practice of work. As such, a sense of uniformity and synchronicity in the workplace becomes critical, a goal that is brought about by a sense of shared values, which also engenders trust and links an organization together. Various scholars have identified various benefits that shared values bring to the workplace.

In a healthcare setting, shared values results in increased mutual respect and understanding between patient and organization, increased trust, and reduced care disparities in the patient population. According to Saltman, Bankauskaite, & Vrangbaek(2006), it also results in increased cost savings through increased efficiency and reduction in medical errors, number of treatments and legal costs.  Further, shared values decrease barriers that slow progress, and improves theefficiency of care service, subsequently increasing an organization’s the market share. Shared values are also important for the level of mutual trust in the system and the ability to rely on traditions and routines (Saltman, Bankauskaite, & Vrangbaek, 2006), and provide a strong foundation for collaboration in today’s complex healthcare environment.

According to Saltman, Bankauskaite, & Vrangbaek(2006) organizations gain strength from shared values. If employees know what the organization stands for and what principles to preserve, they are more likely to make decisions that support those values. Decisions are also easier to make, and staff work harder because they are committed to the cause. Additionally, employees perceive themselves as a more significant part of an organization and exhibit greater motivation.  These benefits of having a system of shared values were also identified by Barnum & Kerfoot(1995). According to Barnum & Kerfoot(1995), shared values create a sense of cohesiveness, bonded community held together by the system of shared values and a shared mission and vision. It creates animpressionof similarity among employees, gives them asense of direction and develops a highly committed and energized staff.Additionally, Fulton-Calkins & Stulz(2008), state that organizational values are central to achieving high performance. They statethat a sense of shared values across employeesboosts performance. They add that a shared values system creates a strong organizational culture and helps towards maintaining harmony, understanding and shared vision in an organization.According toBrooklyn, Roussillon, & Bournois(2002) strongly shared organizational values are essential in the creation and sustenance of competitive advantages. Strategy scholars argue that the most enduring advantages tend to be embedded in shared values that constitute an essential part of organizational culture. Thus, shared values provide long-term coherence to a firm.Holbeche(2012), states that shared values provide other benefits to organizations such asfacilitating teamwork, creating group identity, and permit delegation without close monitoring.

Itis, therefore, evident that a culture of shared values is a critical strategic step, without which cases of misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and conflict would be rife.

The Significance of Diverse Ideas to an Organization

Different people bring to the workplace different values, diverse viewpoints, and unique ideas. Forward-thinking organizations make use of such variability in ideas to enrich their offerings so that they appeal to a broader audience. Thus diverse ideas can make money for any organization. There are other benefits that tolerance for diverse ideas can bring. First, according toHolbeche(2012), within organizations, diversity can act as a stimulant for innovation and growth, as different ideas are shared and contrasting points of view are considered. In the 21st-centuryworkplace, diverse ideas has become an important idea, as it has been found to be a significant factor in the continued growth and success of many organizations. It helps in facilitating new ideas and methods of operations. In health care settings, it provides a base for understanding and meeting the needs and wants of the various groups in society.

Brooklyn, Roussillon, & Bournois(2002), state that organizations that accommodate diverse ideas are more creative and innovative. Knight et al.(1999)adds organizations that do not accommodate diverse ideas result in their employees adhering to norms and ways of thinking that do not allow for self-development. They have minimal stimuli for new ideas that could be available through accommodation of divergentperspectives. On the other hand, organizations that welcome diverse ideas are distinguishedby compound perspectives, varieties of viewpoints and ways of thinking. This provides a larger pool of ideas and experiences, and it, therefore, makes it more likely for organizations to come up withnew approaches to doing things. Diverse ideas in organizations also carry with it a wider pool of information which facilitates a higher probability that solutions can be identified.Henderson & Herring(2015) state that organizations that accommodate diverse ideas in their staff are more likely to come up with more innovative answers to challenges than monoculture organizations. This is because thediversity of ideas gives organizations access to different ideas approaches and fresh perspectives (Holbeche, 2012).

The diversity of ideas within organizations can help individuals grow and learn if they open their minds to hear what others are saying. Thus diversity becomes a resource for individuals within the organization- a resource that helps each individual grow and become more effective in a highly diverse world (Fulton-Calkins & Stulz, 2008). According toSims(2002), organizations that learn to cope with diverse ideas create a welcoming and rewarding work environment for their employees that encourage excellent job performance and this result inhigh productivity and low staff absenteeism and turnover,and associated costs reduced. It also gives the employees the perception that they are valued.Additionally, organizations that manage diverse ideas effectively become known as good places to workattractingbetter-qualified staff. Further, such a culture nurtures an environment of understanding, respect, and cooperation encouraging teamwork.Lastly, diversity of ideas at the workplace allows an organization to be flexible allowing it to respond and adapt better to vicissitudes in its environment. Allowing for Diversity of ideas allows an organization to become better equipped to address its environment.

Therefore, accommodation of diverse ideas at the workplace is of strategic importance.  It increases creativity, increases productivity, brings in new attitudes, and new solutions to difficult problems can be identified. It should be a positive force in the workplace, althoughHolbeche(2012)states that understanding, acceptance, and compromise is necessary.However, it is of note that diversity of ideas at can be a major source of conflict. According toKnight et al.(1999), diversity of ideas can result in dispersion in organizational perspectives, more interpersonal conflicts and consequently less strategic consensus.

How Shared Values and Diverse Ideas Can Coexist In a Health Care Environment

Shared values and diversity in ideas in a healthcare environment provide a myriad of strategic benefits to an organization.A system of shared values increases understanding between patient and organization,reduces care disparities, eases decision making, and improves theefficiency of care service among many other benefits. On the other hand, diversity of ideas allows for innovation and growth, employee self-development, higher levels of productivity, and encourages teamwork among many other benefits. Therefore, an organizational culture that allows for the coexistence of shared values and diverse ideas stands to benefit significantly. Therefore, organizations must find ways to forge co-alignments that allow shared values and diverse values to coexist.Allen(2015) suggested that this can be achievedthrough organizations having in place diverse value sets oriented towards performance targets and expectations. Thus, a clear set of goals for the organizations becomes a keystone for successful co-alignment as individuals and the organization work individually and collective towards the achievement of the set goals with no avenue for theincompatibility between the two organization cultures. According tod’ Iribarne(2012)shared values and diverse ideas can coexist in a healthcare environment. The author suggested that this can be achieved if shared values and diverse ideas strategically coexist in a sequential manner. That is, in different hospital operational units or departments based on departmental work description, rather than promoting both diversity in ideas and shared values in each single department.


Shared values and diversity in ideas are concepts whose implications carry a lot of weight in organizational management.When a system of shared values and diversity in ideas forms the basis of practice of any health care organization, it will result in a solid positive culture. Since the healthcare industry is of highinterpersonal nature, nursing staff expect, deserve, and need professional support and a supportive working environment.Low productivity, high absentee rates, Poor financial outcomes, poor quality of patient care, and high turnover rates are associated with staff who have low organizational commitment and who feel like their opinion is not respected or taken into consideration in decision making.When nurses are distracted from their work with patients by flaws in the organizational climate or because a system of shared values is not in place or diversity in ideas is checked or restrained, quality and productivity suffer.It is, therefore, important for healthcare practitioners in leadershipposition to not only articulate the values and desired climate but to assess, periodically the organization through employee survey and other assessment tools. This will ensure that an environment that supports the highest level of productivity and job satisfaction on the part of the staff is maintained.


Allen, M. (2015). Strategic Communication for Sustainable Organizations: Theory and Practice. New York, NY: Springer.

Barnum, B. S., & Kerfoot, K. M. (1995). The Nurse as Executive. Gaithersburg, Maryland: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Brooklyn, C. D., Roussillon, S., & Bournois, F. (2002). Cross-cultural Approaches to Leadership Development. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group.

d’ Iribarne, P. (2012). Managing Corporate Values in Diverse National Cultures: The Challenge of Differences. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Fulton-Calkins, P., & Stulz, K. M. (2008). Procedures & Theory for Administrative Professionals. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Henderson, L., & Herring, C. (2015). Diversity in Organizations: A Critical Examination. New York, NY: Routledge.

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Knight, D., Pearce, C. L., Smith, K. G., Olian, J. D., Sims, H. P., Smith, K. A., & Flood, P. (1999). Top Management Team Diversity, Group Process, and Strategic Consensus. Strategic Management Journal, 20, 445-465.

Saltman, R. B., Bankauskaite, V., & Vrangbaek, K. (2006). Decentralization in Health Care: Strategies and Outcomes. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Sims, R. R. (2002). Managing Organizational Behavior. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.

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