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Archetype transition in the German health service? The attempted modernization of hospitals in a North German state

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Frank Mueller


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In this paper, we argue that, rather than aiming at universal contingency relationships, archetype theory needs to go down a path where 'local variants' can be discovered and understood by relating them to their organizational and institutional context(s). The case study of a public sector hospital group in a North German state (Hamburg) is drawn on here to elaborate the argument. We found evidence for a change from a Public Sector hospital archetype to a Public Hospital Corporation archetype. Drawing on this model permits us to explore the impact of the introduction of new forms of public management organization and the implications the managerial ideology underpinning this may have for the professional organization. The study explores the consequences of the innovations for professional/managerial relations. We also suggest that the'archetype' approach may be particularly useful for the comparative study of organizations. This is particularly pertinent given the different - corporatist - organization of the German health care system and its different approach to public sector reform to that of the Anglo-American and Scandinavian systems where the 'archetypal' approach has so far been applied.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dent M, Howorth C, Mueller F, Preuschoft C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Public Administration

Year: 2004

Volume: 82

Issue: 3

Pages: 727-742

ISSN (print): 0033-3298

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9299

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.0033-3298.2004.00416.x


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