Read and answer the questions to the Hospital case study.Big Changes for a Small Hospital
As F. Nicholas Jacobs toured the Windber Medical
Center facility, he was dismayed by the industrial pink-painted walls, the
circa-1970 furniture, and the snow leaking through the windows of the
conference room. Employees earned 30 percent less than their counterparts in
the area, and turnover was steep. As Windber’s newest president, Jacobs knew he
was the facility’s last hope—if he couldn’t successfully turn around the aging
facility, it would mean closing the doors forever.
Coming to Windber Medical Center in 1997, Jacobs was
keenly aware that the hospital could be the next in a series of small hospitals
that had fallen victim to a struggling economy. Determined to see that not
happen, he began by making connections with the employees of the hospital and
the community at large. Jacobs’s first step was to interview the employees to
find out firsthand what they wanted for the Windber community and the medical
center. He also looked to members of local community groups like the local
library, the Agency on Aging, and local politicians and asked these groups what
they wanted from their local medical facility. When Jacobs realized that
octogenarians made up a larger percentage of the population in Windber,
Pennsylvania, than in all of Dade County, Florida, he made it a priority to
provide more options to seniors for improving their health and quality of life.
He set forth a vision of a medical center that was more of a community center—a
center that would allow members of the community to exercise in a state-of-the-art
facility while having access to professionals to answer health-related
questions. Jacobs realized that keeping people in the community both physically
and mentally healthy also meant keeping the hospital financially healthy. He
made the center’s new preventative care philosophy clear to the public: “Work
out at our hospital so you can stay out of our hospital.”
Jacobs’s efforts have paid off—in an era when small
hospitals are closing left and right, Windber Medical Center is thriving. Under
Jacobs’s leadership Windber has established an affiliation with the Planetree
treatment system, which integrates meditation, massage, music, and other
holistic methods into traditional health care. Windber’s wellness center, which
offers fitness training, yoga, and acupuncture, among other treatments, opened
in January 2000 and now generates over $500,000 annually. Gone are the pink
walls and dated furniture—replaced with fountains, plants, and modern artwork.
Jacobs recruited a former hotel manager to oversee food service. And despite
the dismissal of about 32 employees (those used to a more traditional hospital
setting had a tough time in the new environment), the staff has nearly doubled
to 450 employees, and pay has improved. Windber has raised more than $50
million in public and private funding and has forged research partnerships with
the Walter Reed Army Health System and the University of Pittsburgh, among
others. The Windber Research Institute, Windber’s heart disease reversal pro-
gram, has treated about 250 patients.
1. Consider the factors from the situational
leadership theory outlined in Figure 13.4. Apply these factors to Jacobs and
2. How do you think Jacobs would score on the least
preferred co-worker (LPC) scale? Why?
3. Based on the success of Windber, in what range
would you guess the overall situational favorability might fall for Jacobs on
the continuum illustrated in Figure 13.6?
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