Social Responsibility: A New Paradigm of Hospital Governance?
Health Care Analysis, April 2012
Cristina Brandão, Guilhermina Rego, Ivone Duarte, Rui Nunes
Changes in modern societies originate the perception that ethical behaviour is essential in organization's practices especially in the way they deal with aspects such as human rights. These issues are usually under the umbrella of the concept of social responsibility. Recently the Report of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO on Social Responsibility and Health has addressed this concept of social responsibility in the context of health care delivery suggesting a new paradigm in hospital governance. The objective of this paper is to address the issue of corporate social responsibility in health care, namely in the hospital setting, emphasising the special governance arrangements of such complex organisations and to evaluate if new models of hospital management (entrepreneurism) will need robust mechanisms of corporate governance to fulfil its social responsiveness. The scope of this responsible behaviour requires hospitals to fulfil its social and market objectives, in accordance to the law and general ethical standards. Social responsibility includes aspects like abstention of harm to the environment or the protection of the interests of all the stakeholders enrolled in the deliverance of health care. In conclusion, adequate corporate governance and corporate strategy are the gold standard of social responsibility. In a competitive market hospital governance will be optimised if the organization culture is reframed to meet stakeholders' demands for unequivocal assurances on ethical behaviour. Health care organizations should abide to this new governance approach that is to create organisation value through performance, conformance and responsibility.
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