South Africa essentially has two health care systems—the public and private ones. While much is known about how the public system operates, little work has been conducted on the private sector, perhaps not surprisingly in a profit‐oriented, proprietary system. But it is a massive system with its own agenda, interests, and organizations. In this paper, we address the place of private care governance issues, one seen by government as maldistributed, costly, and controlled by few groups and the medical search for profit.
Using qualitative in‐depth interviews, 10 top executive managers of the hospital were asked about its functionality in terms of patient care, profitability, and the practice of governance. Data were analyzed based on themes using NVivo 10 software.
The study demonstrates that private hospital functionality finds meaning in board structure, composition and functions, purposeful governance practices as evidenced in well‐designed management structures and roles, systematizing governance through the planning of activities, and devising appropriate strategies to deal with both internal and external pressures in the health care environment.
The study findings establish that shareholders and managers goals converge resulting in the institutionalization and consolidating of relational governance practices in the hospital. Yet other stakeholders appeared to be sidelined.