Leadership in public health care: Staff satisfaction in selected South African hospitals.


A. A. Braam Rust* and J. W. Johan de Jager

The main objective of this study is to evaluate expressed levels of staff satisfaction regarding specific leadership characteristics at two public hospitals in two South African provinces. Currently, public hospitals in South Africa are highly stressed institutions because of understaffing, management and leadership failures. For example, a lack of effective leadership and management capacity exists; hospitals managers are disempowered and frustrated by growing centralized control at provincial level; doctors and nurses have departed for more lucrative positions within the private sector; and there has been a significant reduction of posts for support workers. Frustrations culminated in the most severe strike within the South African public sector (June, 2007) . It was assumed that the wage dispute was the highlight of a variety of conflicts that have undertones of several other examples of frustrations and unsatisfactory behaviour. These problems and obstacles reflect inappropriate leadership. In this study (2009 Please provide full reference), it was found that staff at hospitals experience more active leadership abilities (inspire trust; motivate subordinates; care deeply about the well being of employees; assist subordinate workers) from leaders in their workplaces (hospitals) and to a lesser extent, from leaders at provincial and national level. Thus, leadership abilities of managers further from the workplace (managers at provincial and national levels), are not as active as the managers at the hospitals.

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