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Case Study

Sharp HealthCare is the main private employer in San Diego. Theorganization endeavors to become the place workplace, for itsemployees as well as patients. It ranks among the best places ofemployment. This owes to the organization’s continuous effort atensuring the employees are constantly motivated. Sharp believes thatany successful and effective health care delivery begins with workingwith a motivated staff. The case study aims at identifying thesuccess factors, weaknesses in the motivation approach andpossibility of replicating the approach.

Key Factors

Sharp has a motivation approach that is successful. The success isbased on a number of factors. These are the organization’s “focuson purpose, worthwhile work, and making a difference the three mostrelevant pillars of excellence to staff motivation are quality,service and people re-recruiting employees and model behaviors andscripts (Burn, Bradley &amp Weiner, 2012).”

Focus on Purpose

It is a success factor because according to the case study, it hasresulted in improvements in the levels of workers, physicians andthose that seek health care services from Sharp. In addition, theorganization has experienced developments in loyalty from customersand output by workers. Sharp won the “Malcom Baldrige NationalQuality Award” in 2007 and ranked “fifth in the California bestplaces to work program….was rated 47th out of the top 100 places towork in the United States by Modern Healthcare (Burn, Bradley &ampWeiner, 2012).” These are obvious indicators that the organizationfocuses on the motivation of its employees. By focusing on purpose,Sharp reminds its employees that they are important to theorganization, which in turn encourages them to work harder.

Success Pillars

The organization has six pillars. However, it identifies three asthe most significant. These are quality, which includes accreditingand license cores, measure towards controlling infections andensuring the safety of patients. Service entails the generalsatisfaction of the patient and physician. The third is people, whichinvolve focus on improving the satisfaction and retention of workers(Burn, Bradley &amp Weiner, 2012). In order to ensure that thepillars are triumphant, Sharp uses opinion surveys and planning,which makes it possible to get feedback from workers on how to ensurethey remain satisfied. Research supports job satisfaction as a majorwork motivation approach (Singh &amp Tiwari, 2011), and by focusingon satisfying its employees, Sharp has in turn motivated them.


Sharp prefers to re-recruit its employees as a manner of retainingthem instead of sourcing for new ones. The approach effectivelyacknowledges the significance of the employees to Sharp, enhancestheir self-worth and commitment in addition to ensuring that theystay in the organization for longer. Employees are grouped intogreat, good and the low performers. Each group is handled differentlyto ensure the low performers improve, while the great and goodperformers continue with their effort. These approaches demonstratethat Sharp appreciates its workers, which is an effective way ofmotivation.

Model Behaviors and Scripts

The organization requires its employees to exemplify “Must Haves”,which are conducts and actions while within the organization (Burn,Bradley &amp Weiner, 2012). Two of the “Must Haves” includeworkers in the management level promoting a culture of gratitudethrough sending thank you notes to workers, and making rounds inSharp to build a relationship with personnel. Sending thank you notesis a form of recognition of workers’ efforts, while buildingrelationships with staff enhances their loyalty, which in turn resultin an organization’s success (Hofmans,De Gieter &amp Pepermans, 2013).


Despite recognizing the efforts of its employees, Sharp Healthcaredoes not have a more tangible reward system, the employee forum cancause problems and the manner of collecting opinions from personnelhas limitations.

Lack of a Tangible Reward System

The methods used by Sharp to reward it employees are psychological.These include saying thank you, finding time to interact and forumsto find weakness areas to improve. However, employees are likely tobe more motivated by tangible reward systems (Presslee,Vance &amp Webb, 2013). For instance, an employee who is agreat performer already knows the importance of working hard.Although the employee may need to be reminded of their significantcontribution, it would be more effective to use approaches likeend-year bonuses to the best employee. It is a tangible rewardapproach, which other employees get to see and desire the samehence, they are motivated to become the best performer.

Employee Forums

The organization endeavors to maintain an open channel ofcommunication between senior workers and other personnel (Burn,Bradley &amp Weiner, 2012). Hence, an employee at any level canapproach a manager and they freely share information. The approachhas enabled the company share important information in a timelymanner. But it enhances the possibility of prospect challenges atSharp. It can act as a way of personnel bad-mouthing their colleagueswith managers or even spreading rumors. Hence, open communicationshould be moderated.

Opinion Surveys

While using a third party to collect the employees’ opinions is agood approach, it does not guarantee the confidentiality of theresponse to the survey. In order for employees to be truthful in theinformation they share, it is important that they are reassured ofits confidentiality. Otherwise, many employees will respond to thesurveys by providing false information. Hence, the surveys may failto be credible, which means that the organization might not addressthe actual needs of its employees.

Replication of the Approach

It is possible for other organizations to replicate the approachemployed by Sharp. The factors to success have been clearlyexplained. For instance, one of the factors that are pillars ofexcellence is clear. The case study explains why the pillars havebeen adopted, which is to act as the basis for the organization’svision. Also, the pillars act as the foundation “for everythingfrom strategic planning, organizational goal setting, prioritysetting, management performance evaluation, and other agendas (Burn,Bradley &amp Weiner, 2012).” The case study further explains howthe pillars align leader’s objectives to their department and Sharpin general. The most relevant pillars are also identified. Suchclarity makes it possible for any organization to replicate.

An important facilitator is that most of the organization’s valuesare common in other health care organizations. Most organizationshave the similar approach of motivating employees, for instance bysaying thank you. In addition, it is common for organizations toencourage their employees to be courteous to the patients. Inspecific, this is common in many health care organizations, as theyrecognize patients are very important in the success of theorganization. Hence, the only difference may be in the way theapproaches are implemented, which is easy to change in any healthcare organization.

The barrier is that Sharp is a large organization. It is the largestprivate employer in San Diego, has 14,000 and above workers, $5.852million worth assets as well as $1.9 billion yearly earning (Burn,Bradley &amp Weiner, 2012). Thus, Sharp’s approach is onlyapplicable to an equally large health care organization. Smallorganizations may face challenges, for instance in conducting surveyson their employees. The survey approach employed by Sharp involves14,000 workers, and is without a doubt costly and tasking. For asmall organization to implement the same, it must have the resources.


Burns, L. B., Bradley, E. H &amp Weiner, B. J. (2012). Shortelland Kaluzny’s health care management organization design andbehavior (6th ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar.

Hofmans, J., De Gieter, S., &ampPepermans, R. (2013). Individual differences in the relationshipbetween satisfaction with job rewards and job satisfaction. Journalof vocational behavior,&nbsp82(1),1-9.

Presslee, A., Vance, T. W., &ampWebb, R. A. (2013). The effects of reward type on employee goalsetting, goal commitment, and performance.&nbspTheAccounting Review,&nbsp88(5),1805-1831.

Singh, S &amp Tiwari, V. (2011). Relationship between motivation andjob satisfaction of white collar employees: A case study. ManagementInsight, 7(2), 31-39.