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Responsibility, Authority and Decision-Making in Health Care

This solution involves a case study (attached) in which a patient is supposed to have blood drawn but lab workers do not have a system for getting work done. It explains how responsibility and authority affect getting work done. It also utilizes the nine step decision making process to determine how to come up with a solution.

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Case Study 1 (2 questions)
One of the shift leaders is holding the off-going shift change meeting. Joe asked the question, "Did the blood get drawn and sent to the laboratory for Ms. Jones?" Betty pointed at Bill and said, "I thought you were doing that?" Bill said, "No one told me! How come I am always the one?" Cheryl added that, "This has taken place three days in a row now!" Sam noted that, "It's only routine work; it can wait. I drew it at the start of the shift." Mary Jo spoke up and added, "There are some urine samples in the treatment room that can be taken to the lab." Joe asked, "Who is in charge of lab work going to the lab?" Bill shouts, "It's not me!!"

Question#1
What do responsibility and authority have to do with decision-making? Explain your answer with the use of research and references to defend your ideas. Also, feel free to add your own opinion(s).

Responsibility and authority determine the chain of command and thus influence decision-making. Responsibility is the obligation to accomplish goals related to the position and the organization (Marion, 2011). Managers and their employees each have different responsibilities, dependent upon their level within the organization as well as the function of their position. Managers have the right to exercise authority over employees, as far as assigning work or making decisions. It is key to match manager responsibilities with the equivalent decision making authority. To this end, the manager has the authority and responsibility to his or her team to outline the scope of each person's responsibilities and their ability to (or authority) to make decisions.

Harold Geneen is famous for stating, "Management must mange!" This means making sure that all employees know what they are responsible for and the authority they have within the organization. In the case study there is a lack of direction. None of the employees have a clear concept of who is responsible for which action, and as such, disaster occurs. At the point job duties (responsibilities) are not assigned, no one takes action to make progress.

In addition to assigning responsibilities, it is also important to empower employees with the ability to make decisions (authority). The case study would have had a dramatically different result if work had been assigned, or, if one of the employees felt sufficiently empowered to delegate work based upon his or her authority. Again, without this, work suffers, and as in the case study, can result in failure.

In the case study, the work place must be changed to empower employees to take responsibility for duties. To do this, managers must not only give employees the responsibility to act but also the authority to take charge of the situation. Failure to identify, assign, and check back leads to an inefficient work place.

Marion, A. M. (2011)."Management: Authority and Responsibility." Encyclopedia of Business and Finance. Vol. 2. Gale Cengage, 2001. eNotes.com. Retrieved from http://www.enotes.com/management-authority-responsibility-reference/

VanBruanene, M. (2011, 22 July). Match Manager Responsibilities with Equivalent Decision Making Authority. Performance Improvement. Retrieved from ...

Solution Summary

This solution involves a case study in which a patient is supposed to have blood drawn but lab workers do not have a system for getting work done. It explains how responsibility and authority affect getting work done. It also utilizes the nine step decision making process to determine how to come up with a solution.

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