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Holy Spirit Hospital’s “religious” organizational culture March 27, 2007

Posted by Lady in civil society, Consumers, Customer Service, Employees, Organizational Culture, religious organizations.

So I happened to go home this weekend (Harrisburg) and found my idea for this week’s blog in the local newspaper, The Patriot News. The article was titled,Better bedside MANNER: Holy Spirit Hospital aims to cure ill will” and showed that since December, Holy Spirit Hospital has been sending walk-in patients directly to a bed instead of having them sit in the waiting area on those terribly uncomfortable benches. This is the first hospital that I have ever known to have such a generous policy. Personally, I am pleased with such a policy. I chose this article because a couple of weeks ago I read Holy Spirit’s mission and vision statement which is as follows:

Our Mission

Holy Spirit Health System is a community Catholic health system sponsored by the Sisters of Christian Charity to carry out the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to all in need. We provide high quality, cost-effective health services to develop healthy communities in the greater
Harrisburg area and South Central Pennsylvania.

Our Vision

Holy Spirit Health system will exemplify God’s love through our service and Spirit of Caring.

Over the next three years, we will focus on achieving exemplary performance in service to our community, including:

  • Superior clinical outcomes.
  • Outstanding customer satisfaction.
  • Strong financial results.

So after taking a look at Holy Spirit Hospital as an organization, it led me to ponder some questions about their organizational culture. For starters, I wonder if their policy of sending patients straight to a hospital bed has to do with the religious culture that they seem to have instilled in their organization. Or might the policy just be in response to gaining a competitive advantage? Cheri Rinehart of the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania said that it is uncommon practice to send patients directly to a bed, but that there is a trend of “looking at patient satisfaction and what the major dissatisfiers are”.

So is it culture or competition that most led Holy Spirit Hospital to act in this manner and treat their customers in this special way? In my opinion, I think that it is naturally part of Holy Spirit Hospital’s culture to act in this way. I honestly think that the culture of their organization is one that is filled with the “Holy Spirit” literally and this drives them to go beyond the call of duty for their patients. Now, I have never really been a patient there but I wonder what it would be like to be one of their patients. Being a Christian myself and having such a strong faith in God, I can imagine the type of organizational culture that Holy Spirit Hospital may have. Can you?

In general, do you think that an organization that has a highly religious climate can affect their organizational culture? Does that particular religion then define the culture of the organization? How might a religious culture be bad for an organization? How might it be bad for individual employees or patients?


10 Shopping Tricks That Stores Hate (Life Tip#1) March 24, 2007

Posted by Jordi in Customer Service, Retail.

10 Shopping Tricks That Stores Hate – Consumerist
10 Shopping Tricks That Stores Hate

These are lots of fun.

My favorite: Saying no to extended warranties.

The org theory question:  why do customers fall for these?  Have retailers created legitimate practices?

Crowne Plaza March 21, 2007

Posted by collage9 in Customer Service, Organizational Design.

This past Spring Break, I had the privilege of spending my time in Acapulco, Mexico.  Going to another country, it really is surprising to see how organizations operate.  One that was especially surprising to me was the hotel I stayed at, the Crowne Plaza.  It was shocking to me how poorly it was run even though I’m sure it was owned and operated by an American based company.  I was with a group of six people, and we all booked our trip together to make sure we stayed next to one another.  When we arrived at the hotel, we had something much different waiting for us.  The front lobby was chaos with people checking in and checking out, and it took us forever to make it to the front of the line.  When we finally did, we found that not only were we not next to one another in the hotel, they didn’t even have rooms for us when we got there.  Maybe I don’t understand the concept of making reservations, but I’m pretty sure it means you should have a room waiting for you upon your arrival.  When rooms were finally available, we found that one group would be staying on the fourth floor, and the other on the twenty-fourth floor.  To top it all off, when we arrived in our room it was a filthy mess with unmade beds and food and cigarette butts all over the floor.  What made matters worse thoughout the whole situation is that all of the workers are Mexican and can barely speak english.  Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising to me, but at a place where 99% of the visitors are english speaking you would think that at least some of the staff would speak decent english.  It’s not that the hotel itself wasn’t nice (don’t get me wrong we ended up having a great time), but it was amazing to me how poorly it was opeated.  I guess that just goes to show how much organizations vary from culture to culture.  Even if an organization is American based doesn’t mean it will operate with the same standards as we do, it will most likely relflect those of the country it is in. 

Business Week’s 50 Top Performers March 20, 2007

Posted by Stephanie in Customer Service, Finances, innovation, Internet, Manufacturing, media, pharmaceutical, Public Interest, Retail, Technology, telecommunications.


Business Week recently announced its yearly 50 Best Performers article in the March 26, 2007 edition of the magazine. When first looking even at the title of the article I was skeptical about how these companies were selected. It seems impossible to compare every company in every sector and rank their performance. I was pleased however to find their criteria for making the selections seems to be as fair as possible.

Financially they use specific criteria and what they look for in companies when making this list. The two principal financial figures Business Week uses in its analysis are average return on capital and sales growth over the past 36 months. They also consider the importance of examining sectors separately, as factors within one particular sector may inflate or deflate the appearance of a company’s performance unfairly.

Specific quotations I highlighted when reading the article regarding what BW determines as strategies for success:

“…rewriting the rules of engagement in their industries.”

“…a deep understanding of customers, a competitive advantage that has enabled them to sell more good and services than rivals.”

“…work hard to anticipate and head off potential problems well before outsiders are even aware of these looming challenges.”

Details about all 50 companies are included in the compilation of roughly 40 pages of discussion. One particular company I had not heard of before, ranked 31 is Stryker. The company manufactures artificial joints, such as knees, shoulders and hips. Part of their success is due to the baby boomer generation who show no signs of slowing down in retirement even as natural aging takes is toll. Anther interesting aspect of the company is its preparation in changing CEO’s. As the current CEO, John Brown is planning on retiring, COO, Stephen MacMillan has had roughly 4 years to shadow and plan the transition. Both the process the company has developed for the transition and the mere fact that the CEO is not being forced out of the company it seems are two incidents not seen as often anymore.

I am still hesitant to agree that companies covering the full spectrum of all organizations and industries can not only be compared but ranked in a hierarchy. Business Week does an excellent job at attempting this challenge but I feel that some subjective factors weigh into the decision, especially between close rankings, say between spot 8 and 9.


1 Google

2 Coach

3 Gilead Sciences

4 Nucor

5 Questar

6 Sunoco

7 Verizon Communications

8 Colgate-Palmolive

9 Goldman Sachs Group

10 Paccar

11 Amazon.com

12 Cognizant Technology Solutions

13 Avon Products

14 Varian Medical Systems

15 Bed Bath & Beyond

16 CB Richard Ellis Group

17 Robert Half International

18 Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings

19 Adobe Systems

20 EOG Resources

21 Sempra Energy

22 Sherwin-Williams

23 Lehman Brothers Holdings

24 Rockwell Collins

25 IMS Health

26 Allegheny Technologies

27 Oracle

28 Starbucks

29 Moody’s

30 PepsiCo

31 Stryker

32 Best Buy

33 United Parcel Service

34 Apple

35 T. Rowe Price Group

36 Valero Energy

37 Constellation Energy Group

38 TJX

39 Morgan Stanley

40 Paychex

41 Coventry Health Care

42 United States Steel

43 United Technologies

44 Hershey

45 Black & Decker

46 Synovus Financial

47 Linear Technology

48 AT&T

49 XTO Energy

50 PNC Financial Services Group

A Customer Service Champ February 26, 2007

Posted by Kira in Customer Service, Networks, Organizational Culture, Organizational Design.
1 comment so far

Just after I read Elaine’s post on Jet Blue, I found an article on Southwest’s customer service.  In December, Bob Emig, a frequent Southwest customer, ended up waiting on the runway for 5 hours after the scheduled departure time due to the plane having to be de-iced twice.  This seems like it would be another customer service disaster like Jet Blue, but as it turns out it was the exact opposite of a disaster.  While stuck on the runway, the pilot walked the aisles answering questions and offering updates while the flight attendants kept passengers updated on new connecting flights.  Within a few days of the incident, Southwest sent a letter with two free round-trip ticket vouchers.

This was not unusual customer service for Southwest nor just a rush to fix the dilemma.  “Rather, it was standard procedure for Southwest Airlines, which almost six years ago created a new high-level job that oversees all proactive customer communications with customers.”  It is Fred Taylor’s job at Southwest to coordinate information that is sent to all frontline representatives in the event of a major flight disruption.   He also sends out letters and flight vouchers to customers caught in storms, air traffic, and other travel messes whether or not the situation was in Southwest’s control.  According to Taylor, “it’s not something we had to do.  It’s just something we feel our customers deserve.”  For Southwest, customer service goes beyond the employees directly in contact with customers; “it takes coordination from the top, bringing together people, management, technology, and processes to put customers’ needs first.”

I think this is a great example of providing customer service unlike Jet Blue’s recent blooper.  When travelers are in situations that shake their nerves, they want to know that they will be taken care of.  I think that customer service is one of the best and few ways that a company can truly differentiate itself and remain competitive in today’s business world.  Southwest has recognized that customer service is not just a quick fix apology, but is embedded in their structure and culture starting from the top of the organization.  As I learned in marketing, there are many points of customer service and contact that need to be monitored.   Southwest is very wise to have someone in a high-level position to oversee and coordinate all the points of customer service/contact throughout the organization.  I am curious as to how exactly Taylor goes about getting the company to coordinate in order to put customers’ needs first.  What kind of structure does the company have?  Do they use networks to increase the flow of information?  If so, what kind of network do they have in place?