Nonprofit organizations, religious values, and a complete dataset on strategic choices of German hospitals: these are the main ingredients into a paper co-authored with my colleague Lapo Filistrucchi, which is forthcoming in Management Science.
This paper makes three key contributions. First, it confirms that the values and beliefs of organizational decision makers, as required by their employers, influence the strategic actions of firms. This study is the first to show that this premise of some behavioral scholars also holds for nonprofits.
Second, this paper is among the first to investigate the strategic effects of decision makers’ religious values. Thereby, as Laurence Iannacone told me recently, we are the first to show that the content of religious teachings actually influence firms’ strategies in a coherent and, thereby, predictable way: roughly speaking, we propose that, because Catholicism is more communal and because Protestantism is more individualistic (and education-oriented), Catholic hospitals are larger, make more revenues, and serve more medical fields, whereas Protestant hospitals are smaller, focus on a few medical fields, specialize in more complex (and more expensive) treatments, and have more links to universities.
Third, we have tackled the difficulties of the empirical and theoretical literatures on nonprofits to predict their strategic choices by fleshing out lines of distinction between different nonprofit subgroups that are distinguishable according to observable organizational characteristics (here: whether a given organization is Catholic or Protestant or neither of the two).
Earlier press coverage related to the paper:
- Socialevraagstukken.nl, January 2015: Religie manager bepaalt het gezicht van het ziekenhuis (in Dutch)
- Nederlands Dagblad, December 2014: “Geloofsopvatting manager beïnvloedt koers ziekenhuis” (in Dutch)
- Tilburg University Press Release, June 2014: “Manager’s religious affiliation impacts hospital’s strategy” (in English), “Geloof manager beïnvloedt strategie ziekenhuis” (in Dutch).