Interorganizational networks are defined as “clusters of organizations that make decisions jointly and integrate their efforts to produce a product or service” (Alter & Hage, 1993, p.2) and “advanced organizational structures perceived to improve efficiency, flexibility, and innovativeness and described as decoupled units developed because of rapid growth or knowledge and technology” (Schumaker, 2002). The healthcare integrated delivery system (IDS) is a distinct example of an interorganizational network. Defined as networks of healthcare organizations linked for the goals of clinical integration and an effective patient care continuum (Zucherman, Kaluzny, & Ricketts, 1995; Kilbridge, 1998; Young & McCarthy, 1999; Deluca & Enmark, 2002), IDSs may assume various organizational forms, namely strategic alliances, contracted networks, or joint ventures and may be comprised of multiple forms within a single network (Page, 2003). Also of interest is the distinction of the IDS as a lateral network of stakeholders, all directly serving the patient. This study uses the healthcare IDS to test a model of strategic fit and to examine differences in the nature and strength of the strategic fit to performance relationship across two distinct levels of IDS development.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Average Length of Stay (ALOS): Number of days a patient must spend in the hospital, averaged across all lengths of patient stay for the hospital for one year.
Interorganizational Network: A “cluster of organizations that makes decisions jointly and integrates their efforts to produce a product or service” (Alter & Hage, 1993, p.2).
Profile Matching: Profile matching assigns a score to both the IT integration/sophistication profile and the organizational maturity profile of the entity. If the two scores are equal or close within a very small predetermined range, the organization is deemed to have achieved strategic fit.
Strategic Fit: Point of equilibrium at which the level of interorganizational network structure and maturity is properly aligned with a complementary level of IT integration and sophistication.
Healthcare Integrated Delivery System: Network of healthcare organizations linked for the goals of clinical integration and an effective patient care continuum.