Human Resource Management in the Greek Healthcare Services. Private and Public Sector

Master's Thesis, 2013

92 Pages, Grade: 10






1.1 A Historical background of Human Resource Management (HRM)
1.2 HRM objectives – the evolution of Personnel Management
1.3 Analysis of HRM objectives

2.1 The need for HRH development and health policies
2.2 Limitations of current approaches to HRM and workforce issues on health policies
2.3 The challenges of health systems reforms and the HRM in healthcare organizations

3.1 General frame and procedure of selection and recruitment
3.2 Training and Development
3.3 Performance Appraisal
3.4 Rewards – Awards
3.5 Labor Relations
3.6 Career and Evolution Ranking Scale
3.7 Disciplinary control system in the Public Health Sector


5.1 Descriptive Statistics
5.2 Inferential Analysis
5.3 Study Limitations






Figure 1: HRM objectives and their parameters

Figure 2: Relationship between workforce performance and services Performance

Figure 3: Public sector employee’s distribution according to their professional sector

Figure 4: Private sector employee’s distribution according to their professional sector

Figure 5: Public organization employee’s distribution according to their working contract’s type

Figure 6: Private organization employee’s distribution according to their working contract’s type

Figure 7: Public organization employee’s distribution according to their sex

Figure 8: Private organization employee’s distribution according to their sex

Figure 9: Public organization employee’s distribution according to their age

Figure 10: Private organization employee’s distribution according to their age

Figure 11: Years of experience in the public organization

Figure 12: Years of experience in the private organization

Figure 13: Years of experience of former employers in the public organization

Figure 14: Years of experience of former employers in the private organization

Figure 15: Employee’s educational level in the public organization

Figure 16: Employee’s educational level in the private organization

Figure 17: Meritocracy in the recruiting procedure

Figure 18: Organization’s training efficiency

Figure 19: Organization’s performance appraisal

Figure 20: HRM department’s involvement in performance appraisal

Figure 21: Organization’s reward sufficiency according to qualifications

Figure 22: HRM department’s level of knowledge of the labor legislation

Figure 23: HRM department’s contribution to the solution of employee’s problems


The research goal of this dissertation is to investigate the operation of Human Resource Management (HRM) in the Greek reality, with emphasis on the differences and similarities between the Greek public and private healthcare services sector. HRM was initially analyzed according to its five basic objectives. According to them, a semi-structured questionnaire was formatted and distributed to a public and a private healthcare unit in order to collect the data and interpret the results. This specific comparison indicated a clear tendency which – with the addition of more healthcare units in the research – can establish a nationwide statistical result.

In the first chapter the theoretical background of HRM is analyzed, in order to interpret the five basic objectives of HRM, clarify to the reader the exact factors that are going to be addressed in the research and their theoretical interpretation. In the second chapter a theoretical analysis for HRM and Human Resource for Health (HRH) is presented. The special characteristics of HRH are analyzed as well as the qualitative differences between HRM and HRH. In the third chapter there is an analytical description of the overall condition of the health sector in Greece. The correspondent Greek legislation over each HRM objective is analyzed, as well as its operating conditions. There is also a reference on special sectors that need to be addressed, i.e. the evolution in the Greek public health sector and the Greek public servants’ disciplinary control system. In the fourth and fifth chapter an overall representation and analysis of the research and its results takes place, by giving the necessary numeric and descriptive results and an analytical discussion follows. The theoretical limitations of the research are illustrated and the dissertation is completed with the general conclusion.

The current study constitutes a “rare” – for the Greek standards – quantitative and qualitative measurement of the specific objectives that HRM consists of. A comparative analysis between a Greek public and a private healthcare unit is presented. The study offers specific data that might constitute a good basis for further HRM research on the Greek Healthcare System and its parameters.


I would like to thank my family for their patience and support during the whole period until the completion of this study.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Prof. Aikaterini Sarri for her constant guidance and full support, necessary for the completion of this study as well as Dr Nikolaos Rachaniotis.


1.1 A Historical background of Human Resource Management (HRM)

Human Resource Management (HRM) today is linked with multiple tasks such as manpower planning, recruitment and selection, employee motivation, performance monitoring and appraisal, industrial relations, provision management of employee benefits and employee training. However the base for its creation has been the need for increased employee performance during the twentieth century. At that time, the industrialists were constantly aiming at higher volumes of production, meaning higher profits and business growth. Employees were perceived as economic entities that had to be managed according to the general target of maximum production and growth. Human resource specialists at that time were developing their initial ideas of managing people, by only taking into consideration their contribution to maximized industrial output rather than any of the employee’s needs.

Scientific Management was first introduced by Frederick Taylor (1911). He was also investigating ways to improve efficiency and speed for the sake of maximized industrial output. But he was the first to connect employee’s characteristics and working conditions with those terms. According to Taylor, Scientific Management is simply a systematic analysis and breakdown of work into its smallest mechanical elements and rearranging them into their most efficient combination. In addition to the scientific study of the task itself, Taylor argued that individuals selected to perform the tasks should be as perfectly matched, physically and mentally to the requirements of the task as possible and that overqualified individuals should be excluded. Employees should also be trained carefully by supervisors to ensure that they performed the task exactly as specified by prior scientific analysis. A differential piece rate system was also advocated by Taylor to provide an incentive for employees to follow the detailed procedures, specified by supervisors.

The famous Hawthorne experiments conducted by Elton Mayo (1937) demonstrated that employee’s productivity was affected not only by the way the job was designed and the manners in which employees were rewarded economically, but by certain social and psychological factors as well. The human relations movement led to a large scale implementation of behavioral science techniques in the industry for the first time, which included supervisory training programs emphasizing support and concern for workers, programs to strengthen the bonds between labor and management and counseling programs where employees were encouraged to discuss both work and personal problems with trained counselors. The movement was also influenced by the growing strength of unions during the late 1930s and 1940s.

Personnel Management (PM) was the next step towards the evolution of HRM. It was initially aiming at hiring employees to be placed at lower echelons of an organization or business (Papalexandri, et al, 2012). It was introduced as a standard procedure which was simply designed to do nothing more than to hire employees and workers, keeping necessary data and dealing with their compensations. At that time, PM was considered to be a managerial function of lower importance compared to other managerial functions of an organization. After the 70’s, PM started to get higher importance inside an organization and evolve itself at the same time. Personnel departments were transformed into Human Resource Departments, when organizations’ administration realized that Human Resources policies should be directly involved to the overall planning. An extremely competitive international market forced top level management to include all possible human resource practices and improvements in order to achieve higher competitiveness for their organizations.

Today, HRM plays a crucial role in organizations’ management. Its response to social, environmental and market changes is crucial for the survival and growth of any organization or business, no matter if that is small or large and local or international. A high HRM’s performance at every single HRM objective is absolutely critical for any business and this performance should constantly be at top levels. Globalization and the new form of an international market place has created even higher demands for HRM to be flexible and be able to get quickly evolved at even more demanding market environments.

1.2 HRM objectives – the evolution of Personnel Management

The new ways under which HRM is applied nowadays and the change of the whole philosophy that marks business administration have actually replaced the term “Personnel Management” that was used to characterize all the relevant tasks performed to “Human Resource Management”. These two terms are often used to express the same managerial procedures by many organizations. However international scientific bibliography clearly distinguishes the two terms and this differentiation is related with the tasks that each term deals with, as well as its philosophy of operation.

Personnel Management’s objectives are (Papalexandri, et al, 2012):

- The selection and recruitment of employees
- Training and Development
- Benefits of employees
- Performance appraisal
- Contacts and negotiations with Labor Unions

The above procedures are often taking place repeatedly, without any control on whether they have been applied correctly or not. Therefore the organizational environment is often considered to be standard and the PM department is trying to apply the above tools on that standard environment without having the ability to change them, evaluate them or relate them with the strategic goals of the organization.

On the other hand, HRM includes all the tools of PM listed above but it also emphasizes into the interaction between the person (employee), the job task and the organization. More specifically, HRM may be considered as a series of roles and procedures that highlight the importance of the human factor in an organization. It aims at obtaining a competitive advantage of that specific organization through the development of capable and dedicated personnel as well as through the use of tools and procedures that may affect the culture and the structure of an organization – making them consorted with the culture and the structure of the market environment (Papalexandri, et al, 2012).

According to the relevant international bibliography, the main differences between PM and HRM are the following:

- While PM is presented as an administrative procedure that is only targeted at employees, HRM concentrates at both employees and managers.
- The primary goal of PM is to sort out practical daily problems like absences for work, any kind of unhappiness of employees in the working environment etc., while HRM’s primary goal is to check and improve the results of the organization in total, like organization’s performance, quality and the connection with the strategic goals of the organization.
- HRM focuses on the understanding and creation of the organization’s culture by the executives and the managers of an organization in such a way so as to promote the values of the organization itself. PM does not seem to deal with such a task.
- PM is more focused on the individual evaluation and development while HRM focuses on growing the group work, group responsibility, innovation and flexibility of the organization in total.
- Finally, HRM is today considered as a psychological “contract” between the organization and its employees and the chain between them. That specific reason explains why – even in difficult economic environments – innovative businesses invest in HRM. PM is not considered to have such a role.

1.3 Analysis of HRM objectives

As mentioned previously, HRM includes all the traditional PM objectives such as selection and recruitment, training and development, performance appraisal, rewards - awards and finally labor relations. However, an HR Manager should also secure the strategic alignment of organization’s policies with the wider cultural and organizational circumstances (Boxall and Purcell, 2003).

A) Selection and Recruitment:

Selection and Recruitment policy is often divided into three specific tasks that have to be dealt with, from the HRM department:

- Human Resource Schedule
- Methods of Recruitment
- Methods of Selection

Human Resource Schedule: A proper Human Resource Schedule demands the knowledge of the immediate goals of the organization/business such as any plans for extensions or mergers with other companies. It should also include an exact plan for withdrawals from the company (retirements) as well as the calculation of the available job vacancies that might emerge due to unexpected events, such us resigns, offers by competitors and so on. All the expected or unexpected needs that might emerge for recruitment should have already been taken into consideration on the Human Resource Schedule.

Methods of Recruitment: The most common methods of recruitment in an organization are listed below:

- From within the organization
- Through recruitment counselors (recruiters)
- Press registration and adverts
- Search people through current employees of the company
- Announcement on the company’s website
- Announcement and adverts on commercial websites
- Directly through the educational institutions (Colleges, Universities)

Methods of Selection: The most usual methods – tools of selection of employees in an organization are listed below:

- Personal interviews
- Group interviews
- Application Forms
- Psychometric tests
- Assessment centers
- Recommendations

B) Training and Development:

The training methods used by organizations are multiple and often vary – according to the nature/form of the organization as well as the organizational environment. The most common methods of training personnel training are:

- Participation in specific projects
- Participation in inter – business projects
- Training in group projects (in the same organization)
- Relationship Development in the company (Networking)
- Company’s programs for career development
- Evaluation centers
- Succession programs
- Planned exchange of job tasks and responsibilities
- Posting to other organizations
- Internships
- Coaching
- Mentoring
- E-Learning

C) Performance Appraisal:

Workforce Performance Appraisal is a critical challenge for any organization as it is absolutely crucial for the achievement of a competitive advantage over other businesses. HRM department should take decisions related to the evaluation methods that are going to be used, the people involved in the appraisal (employees, executives, managers) and the degree of participation of the assessed employees. Lately, many businesses apply the so-called “Performance Management”, where all the above factors are included in a standard structured model that aims at monitoring and eventually increasing employees’ performance. A Performance Appraisal Handbook model – made according to Performance Management rules – is presented in Appendix A (US Department of Interior, 2004). This handbook has been made by the US Department of Interior and it is a base model for many businesses in the USA. Its main core is the rating of “Critical Elements” that depend on the employee’s duties (they are not standard), which are ranked according to a standard ranking scale.

D) Rewards – Awards:

The employees need to be appreciated for the good work and resulting progress of the organization. This is done by the HRM department, which decides whether to acknowledge the progress of employees with monetary (rewards) or non-monetary (awards) terms. Benefits to employees – either rewards or awards – can be further analyzed into multiple forms:

- Standard salaries
- Rewards based on performance
- Shares’ distribution to employees
- Participation on company’s revenues
- Right of privileged stockholder
- Bonus based on individual performance
- Bonus based on group performance
- Flexible benefits (designed by the organization)

E) Labor Relations:

Labor relations constitute a traditional role of the HR department. The usual responsibilities include:

- Collective Bargaining with labor unions
- Provision of advice relating to collective administration
- Advice relating to managing in a unionized environment
- Progressive disciple / termination advice
- Grievance and arbitration support
- Compliance direction regarding collective agreements
- Labor Relations advice on reorganization and reconstructing

However nowadays in large organizations with both union and nonunion employees, the labor relations’ component tends to be separated from HRM. Still, many experienced HR managers with expertise in both labor and employee relations often function in dual roles as experts in both areas. This appears in small companies too. Generally, HR managers who work for small businesses together with experienced HR managers with knowledge of labor law, have a significant or even an absolute role as management representatives in the collective bargaining process. That role is considered to be the most important responsibility, compared to the rest of the responsibilities in Labor Relations’ section. In Figure 1 below, all five (5) HRM objectives with their parameters are shown:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: HRM objectives and their parameters


Excerpt out of 92 pages


Human Resource Management in the Greek Healthcare Services. Private and Public Sector
Hellenic Open University
Master in Business Administration (MBA)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Healthcare Services, Human Resource Management, Public and Private Healthcare Sector
Quote paper
Pavlos Kilintzis (Author), 2013, Human Resource Management in the Greek Healthcare Services. Private and Public Sector, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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