The nexus between corporate governance and records management in private and public hospitals in Ghana

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/RMJ-08-2013-0017
Pages32-55
Publication Date11 March 2014
AuthorMonica Mensah,Musah Adams
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Information management & governance
The nexus between corporate
governance and records
management in private and public
hospitals in Ghana
Monica Mensah and Musah Adams
Department of Information Studies, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between corporate governance
and records management in private and public hospitals in Ghana, with the aim of finding out how the
effective and efficient management of a hospital’s records can facilitate its governance obligations,
which includes but not limited to accountability, transparency and information security.
Design/methodology/approach The study was informed by the triangulation of the
Stakeholders’ and Records Continuum Theories. Data used for analysis were drawn from 90
respondents from four hospitals with the use of questionnaires and personal observations. A total of 82
questionaries’ were returned in their complete forms and used for the analysis. Linear regressions were
performed to establish the relationship between corporate governance and records management.
Findings – The key finding of the study was that, the hospitals generated different types of records
in the course of their business activities but existing records management standards, practices and
systems were inadequate and undermined the contribution records could make in support of the
governance function in the hospitals. Results of a linear regression also revealed that positive and
significant relationships exist between corporate governance and records management. Furthermore,
all variables used as predictors of corporate governance had positive and significant relationships with
records management except information security.
Research limitations/implications – Participants were from four hospitals in only one Region in
Ghana, and as such the results could not be generalised to the whole country.
Practical implications – The study has established the recognition of the essential but often
ignored conditions necessary for an effective and efficient governance system for hospitals.
Originality/value – The study has demonstrated that the effective management of hospital records
is a critical factor in providing capacity for hospitals’ efficiency, accountability, transparency,
information security and indeed good governance. This research has also contributed towards
bridging the theoretical gap identified in the study.
Keywords Corporate governance, Ghana, Recordsmanagement, Hospitals
Paper type Research paper
Background
Since the advent of the healthcare sector, issues of corporate governance (CG) have
been an inherent weakness in most hospitals in the world and especially in Africa. This
according to Murphy and O’Donohoe (2006) has eroded the credibility of the healthcare
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
www.emeraldinsight.com/0956-5698.htm
This article is as a result of an MPhil thesis completed by Monica Mensah in fulfilment of the
requirements for the degree in Master of Philosophy in Information Studies, and Dr Musah
Adams was the supervisor to Monica Mensah.
RMJ
24,1
32
Received 22 August 2013
Revised 29 January 2014
Accepted 10 February 2014
Records Management Journal
Vol. 24 No. 1, 2014
pp. 32-55
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
0956-5698
DOI 10.1108/RMJ-08-2013-0017
sector. Tsamenyi and Uddin (2008) have observed that a major challenge facing many
organisations in developing and emerging economies in achieving their CG obligations
is to prove that they have followed due processes when an outcome or finding is under
scrutiny. This challenge, Eeckloo et al. (2004) indicated, tops the list of problem areas in
the governance of hospitals. However, studies of Willis (2005), Adams (2010),
Stanberry (2011) and Dikopoulou and Mihiotis (2012) attributed the myriad challenges
that prevent organisations from accomplishing their governance objectives to the
manner in which they manage their corporate records or documents. Stanberry (2011)
argued that in the advent of an accountability process, the only way for an
organisation or its management to prove that all obligations have been followed
appropriately to its stakeholders, is to provide the necessary records relating to such
duties. Consequently, for a variety of medical, legal and administrative purposes,
hospital records must be properly maintained, and the personal and confidential
information in them protected from unauthorized access and disclosure. Thus, where
the organisational culture in a healthcare institution does not value the benefits of good
record keeping or unconcerned about its absence there could be negative impacts
resulting in poor services and weak corporate memory.
Despite it being recognised that effective records management (RM) practices are
crucial for efficient decision making and governance (Lorato and Mnjama, 2007; Loh
et al., 2007; Dikopoulou and Mihiotis, 2012) and the recognition of hospitals as the
engine of economic growth of any country (Abor et al., 2008; Akortsu and Abor, 2011)
some private and public hospitals in Ghana do not appear to recognise RM as a key
instrument in accomplishing their CG obligations. A consequence of this is the
difficulty encountered by some members of management who are part of the
governance structure of the hospitals in accounting for funds or resources allocated to
them, as well as identifying subordinates responsible for some actions which the
hospitals required accounts on.
Additionally, from a theoretical perspective, most empirical studies on CG
identified, indicated a big skew towards governance structures and who constituted
them, and not on how to effectively manage the tools (records/information) used by the
governing body to make strategic decisions in order to achieve their governance
objectives. Consequently, although the concept of CG has been well researched, there is
paucity of literature on the relationship between CG and RM. Thus, this study sought
to investigate the impact of RM practices on the governance of private and public
hospitals in Ghana, with the aim of finding out how the effective and efficient
management of hospital records can facilitate its governance objectives, which
includes but not limited to accountability, transparency and information security as
well as contribute towards bridging the research gap identified.
Literature review
Corporate governance
As a concept, CG has been treated as a variable of interest in its own right and a variety
of definitions have been proposed with a great deal of interest directed at finding out its
consequences or implications in an organisation. CG is the process of directing and
managing business affairs towards enhancing business prosperity and corporate
accountability with the ultimate goal of realizing organisational objectives and
long-term stakeholder value. Generally, CG provides the structures through which the
Private and
public hospitals
in Ghana
33

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