Acquiring political craft: training grounds for top officials in the German core executive

Abstracts: June 17th, 1998

Goetz K H
Public Administration, (UK), Winter 97 (75/4)
Start page: 753 No of pages: 23

Sets out the relationship between politicians and officials in Germany and examines how top officials gain the political skills and knowledge needed for promotion to senior positions within the ministerial bureaucracies. Outlines the German political system and identifies three institutions which play a key role in providing officials with the experience need to develop their political skills – the Chancellery, the political support units in the ministries and the offices of political parties. Considers the implications of this for the political system in Germany, asking whether there is sufficient division between the political parties and the German public administration..

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Preliminary evaluation of the efficacy and implementation of the new NHS complaints procedure

Abstracts: June 16th, 1998

McCrindle J, Jones R K
International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, (UK), Vol 11 No 2 98
Start page: 41 No of pages: 4

Sets out the principles that underpin the new complaints procedure introduced for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom, and the objectives set for it in Scotland. Investigates how well the procedure is working, six months after it has been implemented. Lists the reasons that people complain about the service provided by the NHS and sets out the criteria by which they judge the effectiveness of the complaints system. Identifies the limitations of the old complaints system, explains the features of the new system, that are designed to get round these, and considers the possible difficulties that could arise because of the new procedures. Reports the findings of an initial study which interviewed complaints officers working in six Scottish Trusts. Summarizes how the Trusts had implemented the new complaints procedure and sets out the areas in which problems might arise.

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Health Care Utilization by the Elderly in HMOs.

Abstracts: June 12th, 1998

Comparing Risk and Costs Contracts
Siddharthan K, Reid W M

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, (UK), Vol 11 No 2 98 Start page: 45 No of pages: 5

Explains how older people, who are Medicare beneficiaries in the USA, are being encouraged enrol in Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and looks at the use of risk and cost contracts as part of the health care prepayment plans. Compares the outpatient and inpatient care received by the Medicare beneficiaries, whose care is based on the different types of contract, to find out if there are any differences. Also analyses if any differences in the care can be ascribed to Health Maintenance Organization characteristics, such as enrolment, number of years in operation, whether they were for-profit or not, accreditation status, type of contract the patient is enrolled in and the organization of the plan. Concludes that the Medicare costs contracts show signs of unmanaged care and over utilization. Argues that there needs to be more research into cost and quality issues to inform the debate on Medicare reform.

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Causes and impact of re-engineering

Abstracts: June 11th, 1998

Chan P S, Peel D

Business Process Management Journal, (UK), Vol 4 No 1 98
Start page: 44 No of pages: 12

Examines the factors which persuade companies to re-engineer, and specific types of impact that re-engineering has on organizations. Develops a conceptual framework to investigate the causes of re-engineering which classifies these cause into external factors – customers, competitors, changing industry or market conditions, and government regulations/political pressures – and internal factors which may include the need to: improve technology, increase efficiency, reduce cost and define or redefine strategic focus. Elaborates on each of these factors before describing a study of US companies from the private, public and governmental sectors that had re-engineered, which revealed that both external and internal factors weighed almost equally in contributing to re-engineering, and identified an almost universal improvement in customer service/quality and high incidence of increased efficiency and reduced costs as a result of re-engineering.

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Using the Business Excellence Model to manage change within clinical support services

Abstracts: June 10th, 1998

Freer J, Jackson S
Health Manpower Management, (UK), Vol 24 No 2 98
Start page: 76 No of pages: 6

Describes the process of transition managed by Huddersfield Healthcare NHS Trust between 1993 and 1997, which involved the creation of a sub-directorate of clinical support services and the merging of seven separate services managed by different district heads under one manager. Discusses how the sub-directorate identified its strengths and weaknesses and agreed a vision prior to formulating a plan, and then managed the change process using the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award self-assessment criteria, focusing on seven key areas: leadership; information and analysis; strategic quality planning; human resource development and management; management of process quality; quality and operational results; and customer focus and satisfaction. Outlines the quality improvement initiatives undertaken, spotlighting the difficulties encountered as well as the benefits achieved, and emphasizes three key elements of the project’s success: team commitment to continuous improvement, strong leadership and a sound quality management tool.

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Employee Survey Measuring Total Quality Management.

Abstracts: June 9th, 1998

Zeitz G, Johannesson R, Ritchie J E
Group & Organization Management, (USA), Dec 97 (22/4)
Start page: 414 No of pages: 31

Explains the need for a reliable and valid method which can be used by practitioners within an organization to evaluate the implementation of total quality management initiatives. Describes the development and validation of the scale measures proposed. Sets out the total quality management and related cultural dimensions considered and outlines how their relevance was tested in a survey of employees from a US manufacturing firm, a non-profit service agency and students on a post-graduate management course. Draws up a model of the total quality management process that indicates the relationship between the total quality management programme and the organization’s culture. Lists the 113 items that make up the survey instrument which measures the 23 dimensions identified as being significant for a total quality management programme. Discusses how the instrument should be administered.

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Anatomy of a vision statement

Abstracts: June 8th, 1998

Lucas J R
Management Review, (USA), Feb 98 (87/2) Start page: 22 No of pages: 5

Points to examples of the platitudinous nature of some vision statements; dismisses arguments against the need for an organizational vision, listing reasons why one is required, e.g. to guide or to inspire. Indicates characteristics of illusory visions, stressing that ‘fictitious’ statements can lead to reduced morale; discusses critical components of a visioning process, from the organization knowing what it is before deciding on where it is going through to supporting the vision’s implementation. Adumbrates elements of a vision statement.

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Accounting for the Private Finance Initiative

Abstracts: June 5th, 1998

Heald D, Geaughan N
Public Money & Management, (UK), Jul-Sep 97 (17/3)
Start page: 11 No of pages: 6

Starts with drawing some conclusions regarding technical issues surrounding the use of public finance in public services: that it will bring cost savings and be more cost-effective than public finance; that there has to be clarity regarding value-for-money; that there are differences between projects with genuine third-party payers and those where costs fall on the budget. Discusses the scoring of public expenditure and the rules that the UK Treasury applies; considers the use of accruals accounting (resource accounting and budgeting) by the Treasury and the implications for projects under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Looks at the use of accruals accounting in the context of generally accepted accounting principles, and reflects on the continuing commitment to scoring and accounting for the PFI; suggests, inter alia, that the PFI may lead to a waste of resources, and calls for transparency.

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Australian management education

Abstracts: June 4th, 1998

Elliott G, Glaser S
Journal of Management Development, (UK), Vol 17 No 2 98
Start page: 121 No of pages: 10

Looks at the current debate in Australia over the content and future of management education after the Karpin report. Looks at how universities and industry will relate to each other and how they can work together on management education. Also discusses the mechanisms for delivering management education, focusing on curriculum renewal, collaboration between management schools, the use of technology in delivering management education, and accreditation. Sets out how the curriculum, itself, may alter and the management areas on which it should concentrate. Summarizes the recommendations of the Karpin report in an appendix.

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A ‘New Institutional’ Perspective on Policy Networks

Abstracts: June 1st, 1998

Blom-Hansen J Public Administration, (UK), Winter 97 (75/4)
Start page: 669 No of pages: 25

Identifies the problems associated with the use of policy network analysis and argues that regarding policy networks as institutions and applying institutional theory might be the answer. Uses a case study of a Danish policy network, which deals with the annual budget negotiations between local and central government, to show the value of this approach in explaining why policy networks come into existence, why they change, why they are so persistent and how they affect policy outcomes.

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