Managing Complex-Negative Services: Service Providers’ Use of Ethics Committees and Consultation in Healthcare Institutions
50 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 13, 2016
In complex-negative services such as healthcare, service providers often confront ethical dilemmas, which are often resolved through the use of an ethics committee (EC). These dilemmas commonly surround difficult issues such as end-of-life care and conflict among caregivers of a disabled patient. Despite the meteoric rise of ECs, there is very little research on how service providers engage with an ethics committee (EC). This study shows that healthcare-service providers with a task- or relationship-management role in hospitals differ in their likelihood to use an EC and/or request formal ethics consultation. Results based on 1,440 observations support the theoretically hypothesized relationships. Service providers’ role — task- or relationship-management — influences their likelihood to engage the EC for initial consultation. Their further expectation for the EC to prescribe a specific outcome is jointly moderated by their managerial role and prior experience in ethical dilemmas. Our results offer theoretical insights into the use of ECs in complex-negative services. Managerially, our results show how organizations delivering complex-negative services can enhance the use of ECs to help address ethical dilemmas.
Keywords: Service Provider; Healthcare Services; Ethics Committees; Task Management; Relationship Management; Ethical Dilemma; Decision Making
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