In the eye of the storm: Hospital leaders' resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Sustainable Transformation Management Lab, Johannes Kepler Univeristy, Austria
Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Technical University Chemnitz, Germany
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1730
Background and Objective: Hospitals make a significant contribution to public health and are part of the critical infrastructure. Unfortunately, hospitals are facing tremendous challenges such as general pressures of cost reduction, the need for high-quality care, and effective management of human resources. Amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic it is obvious that hospitals and especially their leaders must be more resilient than ever to cope with this stressful work climate. Recognizing the crucial role of the leader in overcoming organizational crises, few studies focus on how leaders cope with work-related stress during crisis. This study provides deeper knowledge of leaders’ behavior and strategies for dealing with stress. We point to the importance of leaders’ coping mechanisms when it comes to organizational resilience, whereby we consider resilience from the perspective of the conservation of resources theory, since two different types of resilience (acceptance and strategic resilience) arise from this theory. Methods: Qualitative interviews were made with leaders from different university hospitals in Austria within different professions and leadership levels (n=44) and analyzed in a hybrid process of deductive and inductive coding. Results: Mainly, we followed the call of Bardoel and Drago (2021) for qualitative studies to provide empirical data in terms of the two different types of resilience and their associated resources. Therefore, we show first our empirical data on acceptance resilience to then move to strategic resilience data and at least showing the interplay and possible triggers for switching between them. Conclusions: Our work shows how hospital leaders cope with the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic over time and point out how different coping mechanisms and their associated resources where used. At least we discuss the crises driven nature of hospitals and how the important dimension of temporality influence leaders and consequently influence organizational resilience.
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