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Open Access Research article

Organizational culture in the primary healthcare setting of Cyprus

Theodora Zachariadou1*, Savvas Zannetos2 and Andreas Pavlakis1

Author affiliations

1 Open University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

2 Planning Bureau, Open University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

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Citation and License

BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:112  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-112

Published: 24 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The concept of organizational culture is important in understanding the behaviour of individuals in organizations as they manage external demands and internal social changes. Cyprus healthcare system is under restructuring and soon a new healthcare scheme will be implemented starting at the Primary Healthcare (PHC) level. The aim of the study was to investigate the underlying culture encountered in the PHC setting of Cyprus and to identify possible differences in desired and prevailing cultures among healthcare professionals.

Methods

The population of the study included all general practitioners (GPs) and nursing staff working at the 42 PHC centres throughout the island. The shortened version of the Organizational Culture Profile questionnaire comprising 28 statements on organizational values was used in the study. The instrument was already translated and validated in Greek and cross-cultural adaptation was performed. Participants were required to indicate the organization’s characteristic cultural values orientation along a five-point Likert scale ranging from “Very Much = 1” to “Not at all= 5”. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 16.0. Student t-test was used to compare means between two groups of variables whereas for more than two groups analysis of variance (ANOVA) was applied.

Results

From the total of 306 healthcare professionals, 223 participated in the study (72.9%). The majority of participants were women (75.3%) and mean age was 42.6 ± 10.7 years. Culture dimension “performance orientation” was the desired culture among healthcare professionals (mean: 1.39 ± 0.45). “Supportiveness” and “social responsibility” were the main cultures encountered in PHC (means: 2.37 ± 0.80, 2.38 ± 0.83). Statistical significant differences were identified between desired and prevailing cultures for all culture dimensions (p= 0.000).

Conclusions

This was the first study performed in Cyprus assessing organizational culture in the PHC setting. In the forthcoming health system reform, healthcare professionals will face challenges both at organizational level and professional status. Results of the study can serve as background knowledge for leaders and policy makers who seek interventions to improve performance before the implementation of a new national healthcare scheme.

Keywords:
Cyprus; Primary healthcare; Organizational; Culture