This was a pilot study on the decision making environments in the health care industry. A critical incident questionnaire which was developed by Boone & Kilmann (1988) and later used by Janet Barnard (1992) in her research "Decision Environments of Small Firms" was adapted. The questionnaires were sent to 201 employees at the facility in the first sampling. A response of almost 50% was received, but the food service department was only represented by 3 respondents. It was decided that a second sampling would be sent to that department to assure a large enough set of respondents to use as a comparison group. Among the 1 13 final respondents, the majority (79%) are female employees. Most of the participants are over 35 years old, and their years of experience in the health care industry range from 11 to over 20 years, while 79% of the respondents have a Bachelors degree or higher education level. In part one of the questionnaire, the respondent was asked to consider and briefly describe a work related decision in which he/she was recently involved. There were 77 participants (68.1%) who answered this question, of those 62 were operational decisions and 15 were strategic decisions. Part two of the questionnaire was a set of 32 questions randomly arranged. The set of 32 questions were divided in 6 main factors: factor 1- Inputs, factor 2- Problem ID, factor 3- Rewards, factor 4- Group Efforts, factor 5- Politics, and factor 6- Resource Adequacy. A series of t-test were done on the six factors analyzing possible differences in gender, TQM training cycle, age, education level, years of experience, department, direct care provider or not, and type of direct care provider. A 0.95 confidence interval was used to identify if there was a significant difference. The pilot study had several significant differences, but the most interesting was the large gap between the food service department and all the other departments. It appears that as a rule most everyone except the administrative group agree that the rewards are very poor and the political blocks are also very bad. The only difference is that food service believes that it is worse in their area. This study illustrates that the health care industry needs to begin to understand the decision making environment within the facilities. It is evident with the finding of only one or two related articles on the subject that health care is neglecting this topic. It is recommended that the instrument be adapted and used at several other healthcare facilities to obtain a base to compare the quantitative data against. The results of further studies would be to understand and improve the decision making environment of the healthcare industry.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Health services administration--Decision making; Health facilities--Administration--Decision making; Total quality management

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Food, Hotel and Tourism Management (CAST)


Whitlock, Carol

Advisor/Committee Member

Stockham, Edward


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: RA971 .O93 1995


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