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Political Competence of Health Executives

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Introduction
In most cases, being a good corporate citizen goes hand in hand with high levels of political competence. This statement rings true when it comes to the formulation of health policies. Health executives must always consider a multitude of factors before jotting down any sort of health policies. This is because the implications resulting from implementing a health policy are quite numerous since that policy affects a lot of individuals. Seasoned executives who have mastered the skills of political competence are able to analyze factors that might crop up as a result of pushing for the implementation of a particular health policy, thus enabling them to identify potential pit falls that might pose challenges in the future.
There have always been a lot of misconceptions on the topic of political competency, with most people associating this concept with actual politics. Although the issue of political competency applies largely to the field of politics, it can still be incorporated in other different dimensions. Political skill or competence is the “ability to read, understand, and exert influence and control in social situations in a way that is not seen as overt or controlling” (Ahearn, Ferris, Horchwarter, Douglas and Ammeter 2004 p.309). On the other hand, a good corporate citizen can be defined by incorporating Matten and Crane (2005) limited view of corporate citizenship which basically denotes corporate philanthropy in the local community. Although other views regarding the definition of a good corporate citizen do exist, the above explanation was considered as the best suited in addressing the organization’s objectives.
Good Corporate Citizens and Political Competency
Renowned executives in various positions of power display some inherent skills that have everything to do with unmatched political competence and a constant display of good corporate citizenship. Health executives should be able to follow suit in order to keep with the highly dynamic field of their specialization, with the sole objective of formulation, implementing and sustaining reasonable, favorable and wholesome health policies for the benefit of each and every individual residing within the jurisdiction covered by that particular policy. To achieve this, executives must be good corporate citizens as well as be politically competent.
However, there are a number of skills and requirements that the aspiring candidate must always be in possession of before he or she can fully become a good corporate citizen or acquire distinguishable levels of political competency. These skills include but not limited to exemplary academic know how, unbecoming social behavior, and strong leadership skills. Having these basic skills will steer an aspiring executive towards the right path of successful dissemination of his or her duties. Academic knowledge is one of the most important skills that each and every executive should always have.
Health executives should be in possession of at least a first degree in a field related to their nature of work. This ensures that the particular executive being considered for the role of policy formulation is conversant with basic policy making guidelines covered during the course of learning. Excellent personal behavioral traits play a major role in boosting an executive’s positive growth towards being a good corporate citizen. This implies that an executive must always adhere to professional ethics as well as networking with other public members in a manner that fosters a good environment for all concerned parties.
Interview Results
During the course of this research project, it was found necessary to interview an executive whose job description entailed the formulation of health policies. After an extensive and thorough research, the final conclusion was that the chosen interviewee demonstrated strong political competence skills as well as good corporate citizenship. This conclusion was reached upon because of the manner in which the chosen interviewee responded to the queries and also because of the observable behavioral traits.
One of the most prominent questions that the interview sought to answer was whether the interviewee had prior knowledge of the term policy. For this purpose, the following question was posed to the interviewee; what do you understand by the term ‘policy’? The interviewee’s explanatory response cited the definition by Porche (2011) which states that a “policy is not random, but purpose driven”. This particular answer served as a precursor towards the conclusive judgment regarding the level of his political competence.
The major point of note that led to the above conclusion was the apparent knowledge and mastering of the forces affecting policy decision making process. Greipp (2002) identified three major factors that affect policy decision process. These factors include consumers, providers, and regulatory bodies. The interviewee’s responses indicated a clear understanding of these concepts, thus leading to the above conclusion. He also displayed exemplary mastering of various aspects of good policy formulation and successful implementation of those policies. The interviewee’s social behavior during the course of the interview exemplified a strict adherence to professional and personal ethics.
Findings resulting from the analysis of our interviewee’s responses immediately after the conclusion of the interview session revealed that he was very well versed in matters concerning political competency. The interviewee demonstrated an excellent command of political competence process. According to Bacharach (2005), a politically competent leader is able to seamlessly connect and apply the three major stages of political competence process. These stages involve mapping the political terrain, lobbying for support and then implementing the policy in a successful manner. Responses availed by the interviewee denoted a concise understanding of the above three policies, hence justifying his excellent political competency.
Healthcare Organization’s Corporate Citizenship
Health care organizations have always been in the front line whenever the question of good corporate citizenship is raised. For this purpose, it was deemed necessary to consider a particular health care organization’s corporate citizenship. The organization chosen to fulfill this purpose was Healthcare Solutions. As an organization, Healthcare solutions have implemented and maintained good corporate citizenship. They achieved this level of corporate citizenship as a result of realizing the basic foundations of corporate citizenship, and then incorporating them into their organization.
According to Mclntosh and Andriof (2001), the foundations of good corporate citizenship include integrity and mindfulness. Healthcare solutions exemplified the above by encouraging acts of integrity such as initiating employee volunteerism programs, participating in and encouraging charitable giving as well as being an industry leader in corporate sponsorships initiatives (Healthcare Solutions n.d).
Connections between Health Policies, Health Determinants, and Health
Establishing the relationships between health policies, health determinants, and health itself requires a prior understanding of the terms explanations and potential implications. Health determinants are factors that influence the state of health of a given individual or community. According to the World Health Organization (n.d para 2), these factors are inclusive of social and economic environment within which the particular individual or community resides, physical environment, and individual characteristics and behaviors.
Connections between these three terms emanate from the above factors. Health policies are always influenced by health determinants. The successful implementation of a particular health policy largely depends on the health determinants affecting the individuals or community targeted by that policy. The individual’s state of health relates to both health policies and health determinants because it would be impossible to implement a logical health policy without taking it into consideration. This is especially so since the state of health forms the basis of health policy formulation.
Conclusion
Health executives need to be good corporate citizens. In addition to this, they should also be politically competent. The major ways through which executives can achieve this is by having strong academic skills and excellent personal behavior. Health organizations should also embrace corporate citizenships geared towards positive growth, both for the employees and the management. Health policies, health determinants and health are always interrelated
List of references
Ahearn K., K., Ferris G., R., Hochwarter W., A., Douglas C., & Ammeter A., P. (2004). Leader Political Skills and Team Performance. Journal of Management 30(3), 309.
Bacharach B., S. (2005). Get Them on Your Side. Massachusetts: Platinum Press.
Greipp E., M. (2002). Forces Driving Health Care Policy Decisions. Policy Politics and Nursing Practice 3(1), 35.
Healthcare Solutions (n.d). Healthcare Solutions Corporate Citizenship. Retrieved from http://www.healthcaresolutions.com/company-corporate-citizenship.html
Matten D., Crane A. (2005). Corporate Citizenship: Toward an Extended Theoretical Conceptualization. Academy of Management Review 30(1), 166.
Mclntosh M., Andriof J. (2001) Perspectives on Corporate Citizenship. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing Limited.
Porche D., J. (2011). Health Policy; Application for Nurses and other Healthcare Professionals. Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
World Health Organization (n.d). Health Impact Assessment; The Determinants of Health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/hia/evidence/doh/en/

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