Managing Diversity: The Differing Perceptions of Managers, Line Workers, and Patients

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Abstract

This study assesses how hospital managers, line workers, and patients understand the impact of patient and workforce diversity on the delivery of hospital care. Data come from managerial interviews and staff and patient focus groups at five voluntary hospitals in New York City. Three findings emerge from the research. Cultural competence is critical to the provision of quality care, but the perceived significance of cultural competence depends on one's role in the organization. Language remains a problem for patients and staff, although all of the hospitals have extensive translation services. Compared with management, staff and patients identify diversity to be more of a problem. Differing perceptions about the meaning of diversity must ultimately be reconciled to effectively provide care.

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