The objective of the current report is to analyze the organizational behavior of the Alliance Oncology. It deals with how individuals and groups act within the organizations in which they work, and how their behavior affects the organization’s effectiveness.
Alliance Oncology is based in Newport Beach, California. It is a division of Alliance HealthCare Services. The company provides outpatient diagnostic imaging and oncology services. The company cooperates with more than 1,000 hospitals and physicians in 44 states. Its team consists of approximately 1,800 highly dedicated workers nationwide.
The company provides different services to the cancer centers, which include radiosurgery and state-of-the-art radiation therapy.
The specific department for this report is Site Administrators. They are the experts in planning, developing, and operating radiation therapy and radiosurgery sites.
In 2014, the company was being awarded such honors as Five Star Service – Loyalty and Endorsement – Outpatient and Exceeding Patient Expectations (Alliance Health Care Services, 2014).
It would not be possible to get this award without teamwork, as all members of the Alliance Oncology focus their efforts on patient and customer satisfaction.
In order to keep the leading position in the field of cancer treatment services, Alliance Oncology managers constantly have to remember that people make the place. In fact, the company’s success depends on how it values its employees. Understanding the organizational behavior of the company will help to provide basic facts to make more accurate predictions of the Alliance Oncology behavior.
Organizational culture is a system of principles followed by members of the organization. These principles distinguish the organization from others. A strong organizational culture gives stability to an organization (Robbins & Judge, 2013).
Research on organizational culture has shown that the main competing value of the Alliance Oncology is its focus on customers. Since the company is a large organization, it has both a dominant culture and many subcultures. The majority of members share the essential values of a dominant culture (Robbins & Judge, 2013). The major principles that company confesses are quality, innovation, integrity and ethics, respect, and teamwork.
The subculture in the Site Administrators department reflects common problems and experiences faced by team members in this department. This group includes office staff, which deals with the radiation therapy and radiosurgery sites provided to the company’s partners. The subculture of the Site Administrators department shares the core principles of the dominant culture and also has additional values unique to members of the department. These values include:
1) The significant value is the focus on quality care for the partners’ patients. It manifests itself through collaboration with physicians.
2) Positioning as a partner, not a consultant or vendor.
3) The collaboration with the partners to create tailor-made programs.
4) The developing innovative business models are specific to the needs of their partners (Alliance Oncology, n.d.).
Human Resource Policies and Practices
Alliance Oncology enacts its oncology service system with the help of its human resource strategies, culture, and structure. Furthermore, the company’s employees take pride in the fact that they work in one of the best healthcare teams in the U.S. This contributes to the fact that they are passionate about their work. Alliance Oncology team members use the following principle: to provide high-quality patient care and to support their customers and colleagues in any question.
In order to create comfortable working conditions, the company offers a package of rewards for its employees. For outstanding performance, they earn cash compensation. Besides that, each employee gets a package for their health and financial security. The health-care part has five plan options: three medical and two dental. The financial option consists of employer-paid life, accident, disability insurance plans, and the Employee Assistance Program (Alliance Oncology, n.d.).
Moreover, the substantial character of the company is that it provides equal opportunities for each potential employee. There is no racial, gender, religion or nation discrimination. Besides, people with special needs are provided with necessary conditions for work.
Human resources policy encourages productive teamwork, risk-taking, and change, autonomous works, new ideas, and focus on continuous improvement of health care. With a view to developing the existing team members, the company invests in ongoing training and adopting innovative management processes.
It should also be noted that Alliance Oncology provides its employees with outstanding opportunities for their professional development. This is evidenced by the fact that many employees over the years work only for this company, and are eager to get a job and continue their careers as the Alliance Oncology employees.
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According to the research, Alliance Oncology managers put much effort to ensure effective and efficient communication between the team members and external physicians colleagues. According to Robbins and Judge (2013), communication must include both the transfer and understanding of meaning. Furthermore, communication serves two major functions within the organization: control and information.
In the case of the Alliance Oncology, communication serves to control employees’ behavior in the following way. The company has the authority hierarchy and formal guidelines for its staff. Every top manager has a clearly defined job description and responsibilities. They are divided among the following areas of work: finance, business development, operations, contracts implementation, and medical physics. According to the company’s principles, they are communicating with the appropriate departments by conducting business meetings and team-building in order to fulfill a monitoring function. The company makes it clear to its employees what they must do, how well they are doing it, and how they can improve their performance.
The function of providing information is fundamental for the corporate communication process. It is because individuals and groups need to make decisions by transmitting the information needed to identify and evaluate choices. Alliance hired a Satterfield Agency to serve as an extension of its corporate communications and marketing departments. This agency closely works with department leaders and manages a variety of communications initiatives.
For example, one of the communication initiatives is a twice-yearly publication – employee newsletter. It includes the following information:
· a regular column from the president and CEO;
· department profiles to educate team members on other areas of the company;
· patient testimonials to highlight quality service;
· in-depth explanations of strategic initiatives from the Imaging and Oncology divisions.
This newsletter provides information transfer: corporate strategies, news, and the recent accomplishments of local teams to employees.
Foundations of the Organization Structure
An organizational structure is a combination of dividing, grouping and coordinating the job tasks. There are four elements that design the organization structure:
· work specialization;
· centralization or decentralization;
· formalization (Robbins & Judge, 2013).
These elements should be considered in more detail on the Alliance Oncology example. The company tries to create innovative business models for each individual partner. It requires highly specialized staff in each area of activity:
· equipment selection;
· operational management;
· market analysis;
· equipment and access to capital;
· staffing and radiation oncology services management;
· billing and collections;
· marketing – site for physicians and site for patients;
· diagnostic services to evaluate partners’ operating efficiency and quantify their level of customer satisfaction (Alliance Oncology, n.d.).
Alliance selects team members by their experience and qualification in the limited specialization. Consequently, it allows dividing areas of responsibility and creating a healthy working environment. Once jobs have been divided through work specialization, they must be grouped by common tasks. That is why Alliance Oncology has different departments, which are responsible for the varied work tasks.
A variety of work tasks and the need to adopt innovative solutions lead to decentralization. In this case, the decision making is pushed down to the managers closest to the action. This facilitates the process of decision making and helps to act more quickly to solve problems. Furthermore, employees are less likely to feel alienated from those who make decisions that affect their work.
Formalization describes the degree of standardization of the jobs in the organization (Robbins & Judge, 2013). The degree of formalization varies widely within the Alliance. While operation managers must be at their desks by 8:00 a.m. and follow a set of procedures, the others, such as site administrators, have a great deal of freedom in their jobs.
The Alliance major resources are information and workforce. The company has hired the best specialists in their working areas. Besides, it has almost 30 years of industry experience and decades of clinical research. Such experience helps the company’s professionals to provide the expertise and resources to the partners. It also includes state-of-the-art equipment, marketing, market analysis, management, and staffing.
Furthermore, the corporate motivation is to provide growth and success to their partners and health care to their patients. Such a type of motivation contributes to the fact that Alliance specialists try to do their best in order to maintain the competitive edge for their partners, guide them through today’s service challenges, and stay focused on quality care for their patients. Alliance Oncology is focused on meeting each patient’s needs. At a result, the company provides the highest standards of care that help to satisfy each patient and his/her physician.
The key factor of Alliance success is that it cares about its partners and their patients. The company supplies the latest radiation therapy treatment technologies and permanently upgrades existing facilities with advanced technologies. Thereby, it preserves the status of the largest provider of the diagnostic radiology and radiation therapy services in the U.S. for a long time.
One of the main challenges for the Alliance Oncology organizational behavior is economic pressures. Effective management is a significant factor that allows the company to keep afloat during the unfavorable economic conditions. Alliance success is strongly linked to the success of its business partners. If their business is going through hard times, so does Alliance Oncology. Managers under the economic pressure need to be ready for such hard situations as dismissing the employees or motivating them in the situation of the limited financial resources.
The need to remain innovative is a key challenge for the Alliance. Since one of the main advantages over its competitors is the company’s innovative technologies, it should always be in trend and constantly improve its equipment and software.
A great number of divisions and subsidiaries all over the country increase the pressure of the assignment. Managers need to coordinate a huge variety of different tasks, objectives, and working conditions. Besides, the U.S. is a country that embraces nations from all over the world. Therefore, employees are constantly involved in the communication process with representatives of different cultures.
Working with people from different cultures entails the complicated questions of communication. This fact both presents great opportunities and poses challenging questions for managers and employees in the organization. To work effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds, the company’s managers need to be familiar with their culture, history and religion, understand them and adapt these differences to their professional practice. Workforce diversity also includes people from many racial and ethnic groups, employees who differ in age and sexual orientation, women, and men as well as individuals with a variety of physical or psychological abilities.
Areas for Improving Organizational Behavior and Performance
Commitment to flexibility and quality improvement is vital for the Alliance. In order to stay competitive, the company should constantly update its technologies. Besides, it imposes some responsibility on the management in terms of searching for possible technological improvements and providing a creative work atmosphere. Hereby, the major sources of improving organizational strength are flexibility, change, and linkages with the other innovative companies in the oncology area.
Considering the huge size of the company and the importance of stimulating the employees’ ability to cope with spontaneity, flexibility, and unpredictability, the strategy development should be guided from the bottom. Such a type of strategic thinking will help to create a positive working environment and quickly deal with the unexpected changes in the workplace.
It is important to take into account the fact that the line between work and non-work time has become vague. However, such an ambiguous employee’s position creates conditions for personal conflicts and stress. The significant challenges of the work balancing and family responsibilities require the Alliance to design workplaces and job conditions in order to help employees deal with their work-life conflicts.
Another significant area of improvement is providing an efficient reward system for employees. Rewards have a great motivation power encouraging productivity. They can be both materials, such as gift cards or cash bonuses, and intangible, such as an appreciation article in the company’s newsletter or public achievements recognition at the staff meeting.
The above report contains an analysis of Alliance Oncology organizational behavior. The major competing value of the Alliance Oncology is its focus on the company’s partners and their patients. Thereby, both the dominant corporative culture and other subcultures are based on this statement. The dominant culture emphasizes the importance of quality, innovation, integrity, ethics, respect, and teamwork. The subculture of the department of the Site Administrators (as an example) is focused on positioning as a partner and developing innovative business models.
The company’s human resource policy is characterized by innovative management processes. The alliance is making efforts to create comfortable working conditions for its staff. The company conducts educational pieces of training for its specialists, provides equal opportunities to each employee, and offers the benefits package for outstanding performance.
Alliance Oncology uses an efficient communication model, which allows the company to control the working process and ensures proper interaction between the company’s specialists and top managers. As one of the effective communication methods, the company also uses the employee newsletter. It is the instrument for providing the information transfer: corporate strategies, news, and the recent accomplishments of local teams and employees.
According to the analysis of the corporate culture, human resource policies and practices, the company’s communication model, and foundations of its organization structure, the major strengths of the Alliance Oncology have been defined. Among them are information, experience, and employees, who wish to provide growth and success for their partners and health care for their patients. The main challenges for the company are economic pressures, constant need to remain innovative, assignments pressure, and workforce diversity.
In order to effectively use the strengths and overcome the challenges, Alliance Oncology managers need to pay attention to the following areas of potential improvement: commitment to flexibility and quality; redirection of the strategy development to be leading from the bottom; the employees support in the sphere of dealing with the work-life conflicts; providing an efficient reward system to employees.