A conceptual framework for the analysis of health care organizations' performance

C. Sicotte, F. Champagne, A. P. Contandriopoulos, J. Barnsley, F. Beland, S. G. Leggat, J. L. Denis, H. Bilodeau, A. Langley, M. Bremond, G. R. Baker, T. D'Aunno, M. D. Fottler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organizational performance remains an elusive concept despite its importance to health care organizations' (HCOs') management and analysis. This paper uses Parsons' social system action theory to develop a comprehensive theoretically grounded framework by which to overcome the current fragmented approach to HCO performance management. The Parsonian perspective focuses on four fundamental functions that an HCO needs to ensure its survival. Organizational performance is determined by the dynamic equilibrium resulting from the continual interaction of, and interchange among, these four functions. The alignment interchanges allow the creation of bridges between traditional models of organizational performance that are usually used as independent and competing models. The attraction of the Parsonian model lies in its capacity to: (1) embody the various dominant models of organizational performance; (2) present a strong integrative framework in which the complementarity of various HCO performance perspectives are well integrated while their specificity is still well preserved; and (3) enrich the performance concept by making visible several dimensions of HCO performance that are usually neglected. A secondary objective of this paper is to lay the foundation for an integrative process of arbitration among competing indicators and perspectives which is absolutely necessary to make operational the Parsonian model of HCO performance. In this matter, we make reference to the theory of communicative action elaborated by Habermas. It offers, we think, a challenging and refreshing perspective on how to manage HCO performance evaluation processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-48
Number of pages25
JournalHealth Services Management Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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