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Work motivation among healthcare professionals: A study of well-functioning primary healthcare centers in Sweden.

Journal article
Authors Sofia Kjellström
Gunilla Avby
Kristina Areskoug-Josefsson
Boel Andersson Gäre
Monica Andersson Bäck
Published in Journal of Health Organization and Management [1477-7266]
Volume 31
Issue 4
Pages 487 -502
ISSN 1477-7266
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Social Work
Pages 487 -502
Language en
Keywords Primary care, Management, Incentives, Goals, Healthcare professional, Work motivation
Subject categories Work Sciences, Social Work, Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore work motivation among professionals at well-functioningprimary healthcare centers subject to a national healthcare reform which include financial incentives. Design/methodology/approach – Five primary healthcare centers in Sweden were purposively selectedfor being well-operated and representing public/private and small/large units. In total, 43 interviews werecompleted with different medical professions and qualitative deductive content analysis was conducted. Findings – Work motivation exists for professionals when their individual goals are aligned with the organizational goals and the design of the reform. The centers’ positive management was due to a unique combination of factors, such as clear direction of goals, a culture of non-hierarchical collaboration, and systematicquality improvement work. The financial incentives need to be translated in terms of quality patient care to provide clear direction for the professionals. Social processes where professionals work together as cohesive groups, and provided space for quality improvement work is pivotal in addressing how alignment is created. Practical implications – Leaders need to consistently translate and integrate reforms with the professionals’ drives and values. This is done by encouraging participation through teamwork, time for structured reflection, and quality improvement work. Social implications – The design of the reforms and leadership are essential preconditions for work motivation. Originality/value – The study offers a more complete picture of how reforms are managed at primary healthcare centers, as different medical professionals are included. The value also consists of showing how a range of aspects combine for primary healthcare professionals to successfully manage external reforms.

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