Hospitals as professional organizations: challenges for reorientation towards health promotion

Christina Wieczorek, Benjamin Marent, Fran Osrecki, Thomas E. Dorner, Wolfgang Dur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Health promotion, as one tool of hospital managers to reorient hospitals towards more clientoriented healthcare services, has been emphasized for almost three decades. Yet, it is recognized that change in hospitals is challenging and is more desired than substantially enacted. To overcome organizational challenges, health promotion has, so far, adapted organizational change strategies primarily applied in business organizations. However, in this paper, it is argued that such strategies do not adequately reflect the nature of hospitals as ‘professional organizations'. To gain a better understanding of the challenges for health promotion reorientation, this paper combines well-established theories from the sociology of professions and organizational science. These theories provide a useful framework that advances the role of professionals as powerful agents within any reorientation efforts in hospitals. This framework guided the narrative review of empirical literature on critical dimensions along which professionals engage with reorientation efforts in hospitals.Accordingly, specific managerial strategies to facilitate health promotion reorientation areformulated. With its theoretical underpinnings and related empirical studies, the paper offersa new perspective on the challenges of implementing health promotion and proposes strategies that may help hospital managers to push forward health promotion reorientation in their organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-136
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Sociology Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Health Sociology Review on 21/05/2015, available online:


  • hospital
  • professional organization
  • professionals
  • health promotion
  • sociology
  • implementation


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