Building an understanding of the competencies needed for health administration practice.

Academic Article


  • Rapid change in the healthcare environment has pressured healthcare organizations, health management professional associations, and educational institutions to begin examining more carefully what it means to be a fully competent healthcare executive. As a result, interest in healthcare management core competencies has increased. Most competency development initiatives seek to build consensus and typically result in the generation of five or six broad competency domains--but consensus around what? Most competency initiatives are based on literature reviews and consensus-building efforts. Typically, such efforts in healthcare management have involved defining general competency domains and attempting to specify representative behavioral exemplars that demonstrate mastery of the general competency domain. This study describes an approach that used a purposeful sample of ACHE affiliates who represent different geographic regions and health industry segments to construct a framework composed of critical healthcare issue clusters. A panel of healthcare executives then specified five sets of entry-level behavioral competencies that would be required to address the clusters of critical issues. Although the behavioral competencies identified by the executives in this study are anchored to a framework, their empirical association with performance has not been tested. Before implementing broad curriculum redesign, the effect of these competencies on performance should be established. Additionally, competencies should be examined in the context of potential moderating influences such as specific educational program focus, educational delivery format, and type and preparation of students entering healthcare management education programs. Competency, competencies, competency models, and competency-based training are all Humpty Dumpty words meaning only what the definer wants them to mean. The problem comes not from malice [or] stupidity... but instead from some basic procedural and philosophical differences among those racing to define the concept and to set the model for the way the rest of us will use competencies (Zemke 1982).
  • Published In


  • Health Facility Administrators, Humans, Professional Competence, United States
  • Author List

  • Shewchuk RM; O'Connor SJ; Fine DJ
  • Start Page

  • 32
  • End Page

  • 47
  • Volume

  • 50
  • Issue

  • 1