The role of learning and customer orientation for delivering service quality to patients
Purpose: This study seeks to investigate the impact that learning orientation, internal and external customer orientation have on quality of care delivered to patients. Additionally, given the differences between managerial and non-managerial employees regarding organizational value perception and focus on the needs of internal customers and patients, the study aims to examine potential variations in these relationships. Design/methodology/approach: The study took place in ten out of 31 public hospitals operating in the five largest districts in continental Greece. Hospitals were chosen on a random basis. Out of 800 questionnaires that were personally administered, 499 usable responses were gathered. Findings: The extent to which employees create and use knowledge and focus on satisfying the needs of both internal customers and patients is indicative of the quality of care provided. In addition, only managerial employees believe that learning orientation reinforces quality of care. Research limitations/implications: The fact that employees rated quality of care delivered to patients and that most employees had extended tenure should be taken into consideration when interpreting these findings. Practical implications: Top management needs to create a strong and clear culture that emphasizes learning, as well as internal customer and patient orientation, and infuse them among all organizational members. Moreover, human resource management policies should be aligned to meeting or exceeding patients' requests and expectations. Originality/value: The paper enhances existing knowledge with regard to the antecedents of offering medical care of high quality. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.