Describe the managers functional role in the organization at Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente

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The company to be studied is Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States: it is a commercial and Medicare plan based on proper analysis of data in order to come up with the best prevention and treatment plans for their clients.

It was ranked as one of the top 25 best Medicare plans by the NCQA rankings: the ranks are best of client satisfaction and achievement of the initially set goals of the company (News Reporter, 2013). The company is based on a matrix structure of management where is a clearly defined path and chain of command. The resources are centered on the functional managers who have the mandate to ensure that there is smooth running of the company.

Describe the manager’s functional role in the organization. Explain expectations of the role.

The roles of the managers in the company include the following:

To ensure that all activities undertaken are aimed at achieving the company’s set goals and objectives. In this case proper analysis of clients based on the information they offer and their financial status.

Implementing of planned activities to the letter by proper explanation and follow up of the subordinates (Griffin, 2006). This is because the company deals with sensitive matters and there is need to ensure that the decisions made by the governing board are properly implemented.

Planning- this includes the general activities and the day to day activities of the employees. The personnel should be equal to the roles available to avoid overworking and underutilization.

Leadership especially by example is one of the main functions. This is because a leader will determine the character of his team. Diligence and discipline should flow from the top of the hierarchy pyramid all the way down.

Control – this is in terms of the work load and conflicts of interest by the stakeholders of the company. A neutral ground should be established where equality and rules are established, this should be facilitated by the managers of the company.

Evaluate how the manager fulfills the expectations of the role.  

Different managers use different approaches to fulfill their expectations: some go strictly by the book while others use a spontaneous law. The management of Kaiser Permanente use a method tailored to the structure, culture and composition of the company at the said time. The following are some of the ways in which they are able to easily fulfill their role as managers.

Employee evaluation- in order to increase output per employee, there is need to evaluate them and determine their strengths and weaknesses so as to properly assign them their duties. They can only be able to perform best where their strengths override their weaknesses.

Proper communication skills- it is important not to just expect the employees to meet expectations but to explain to them the reason as to why they are doing something. This makes them to be more determined and to always ask when they are not sure of the next step (Griffin, 2006).

Positive reinforcement- it acts as an incentive to subordinates. It keeps them motivated and happy while at work.

Research- new technologies are only adopted if they have been fully researched and proven to work and lead to the best results.

Discipline, tenacity and persistence are always good characters of the managers. They ensure that the decisions are implemented regardless of the challenges that are met along the way.

Explore the different types of planning in your assigned reading. 

In the company, the following types of planning are embraced:

Financial planning- it sets the amount of money to be used for the required resources and inputs. In other words it is the budget for the company (Karger, 1991).

Physical planning- it states which resources will be used by which department and the expected output. It refers to staffing of employees, allocation of equipments and materials and also includes elimination of inefficiencies.

Perspective planning- it is a long term plan for instance the company hopes to increase in capacity and influence in the market by 23% in the next 8 years (News Reporter, 2013).

Annual planning – this is done yearly to determine the changes that are necessary to promote the influence of the company and the satisfaction of the clients (Karger, 1991).

Planning for inducement- it involves the plan on how to manipulate the factors of production and the market for better plough back to the firm.

Explain what specific planning challenges you think this manager might face on a day-to-day basis.  Provide examples. 

Ambiguous contingency – this is when unexpected issues arise in a well planned out activity or project. It requires a flexible and fast manager who will easily be able to deal with it without messing the entire project.

Lack of accountability- at times employees especially in a team may make a mistake and no one takes responsibility. Finger pointing in a working environment kills team spirit and wastes time and resources making projects to stall (Karger, 1991).

Indefinite goals- at times employees may feel they are doing the same thing every day and there is no time limit to the activities. Monotony kills motivation and leads to poor performance (Karger, 1991).

Employee conflicts- workmates will always compete against each other and conflict arises, this is the role of the manager to solve it as amicable as possible and ensure work continues well.

Cost effectiveness- all the decisions made have to be cost effective at all times. The manager should not cause the company losses.

Compare these planning challenges to a manager in a similar position of 25 years ago.

Contemporary society has come with improved technology and automation of department making work easier, but this also comes with its own challenges. For instance:

Changes in the labor laws that were not there 25 years ago. For instance currently the new health policies that require all employers to insure their full time employee. An employee who works more than 40 hours in a week is termed as full time. This means the company should ensure that at least 75% of its labor force works less than 40 hours a week in order to be cost effective (Green, 2013). This is a challenge that was not there several years ago.

Ambiguous contingency was not such a big issue 25 years ago. The economy was more stable and the fluctuations were predetermined and known. Currently the country is experiencing a recession and there are limited funds from the government. The economy is unpredictable and it could mean controlling the overhead expenses is not a matter of management skills; it is a matter of economic pressures and forces.


Green, A. (2013). Introduction to Health Planning for Developing Health System 2nd Edition, Random House Print

Griffin, W. R. (2006). Principles of Management, Orthodox Print Press, New York

Karger, W. D. (1991). Strategic Planning and Management: The Key to Corporate Success, Oxford University Press, New York

News Reporter, (2013 OCT 10 ). Staff News Editor at Hospital Law Weekly — -Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States has been named the highest-ranked Commercial and Medicare health plan in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.