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Goal importance, use of performance measures, and knowledge exchange

An empirical study on general practitioners’ performance

Cifalinò, Antonella; Mascia, Daniele; Vendramini, Emanuele Antonio

doi: 10.1097/HMR.0000000000000206
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Background: In many health systems, general practitioners (GPs) exhibit high levels of isolation and, at the same time, low levels of organizational identification, which can hinder their individual performance. The extant health care literature suggests that the physicians’ belief that organizational goals are important, the adoption of performance measurement systems, and knowledge-sharing practices affect their individual performance. Most research has investigated these constructs in isolation, however, rather than explored their collective impact on GPs’ individual performance.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to explore how GPs’ belief in goal importance, use of performance measures, and knowledge exchange affect their individual performance, here defined as their individual achievement of organizational goals.

Methodology: We developed five hypotheses regarding how GPs’ belief in goal importance and use of performance measures may affect individual performance, as well as how knowledge exchange may moderate these relationships. We tested our theoretical conjectures using data collected in a community of GPs in the Italian National Health Service. A survey questionnaire was administered to gather information about the GPs’ level of belief in goal importance, use of performance measures, and perception about knowledge exchange in their primary care units. We considered two measures of GPs’ individual performance: efficiency and appropriateness of drug prescription. We tested our hypotheses using probit regressions.

Results: Our findings show that perceived importance of organizational goals and use of performance measures have a positive effect on GPs’ individual performance. Meanwhile, GPs’ use of performance measures moderates the relationship between their belief in goal importance and individual performance. Finally, perceived knowledge exchange moderates the relationships between belief in goal importance/use of performance measures and individual performance.

Practice Implications: Executives could improve GPs’ individual performance through interventions that reinforce their belief that organizational goals are important, facilitate a more intensive use of performance measures, and encourage knowledge exchange practices.

Antonella Cifalinò, PhD, is Associate Professor of Accounting, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and CERISMAS, Milan, Italy.

Daniele Mascia, PhD, is Associate Professor of Organization and Management Theory, University of Bologna, Italy. E-mail: d.mascia@unibo.it.

Emanuele Antonio Vendramini, PhD, is Full Professor of Management, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and CERISMAS, Piacenza, Italy.

The research reported in this article was supported by the Research Centre in Health Care Management (CERISMAS). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors.

A previous version of the paper was presented at the 21st Annual IRSPM Conference, Budapest, Hungary.

The authors declare that no funding was received and that they have no conflicts of interest in relation to this research.

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