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Religions 2013, 4(1), 14-29; doi:10.3390/rel4010014

When Institutions Collide: The Competing Forces of Hospitals Sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church

Department of Health Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 980203, Richmond, VA 23298-0203, USA
Received: 29 October 2012 / Revised: 13 December 2012 / Accepted: 17 December 2012 / Published: 21 December 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Work on Catholicism)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [117 KB, 24 December 2012; original version 21 December 2012]   |  


For centuries, the Catholic Church has been a major social actor in the provision of health services, particularly health care delivered in hospitals. Through a confluence of powerful environmental forces at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the future of Catholic health care is threatened. Although United States Catholic hospitals are a separate case of private, nonprofit hospitals, they have experienced environmental pressures to compete with other hospital ownership types and, on some dimensions, Catholic hospitals are indistinguishable from other hospitals. This article conceptualizes United States Catholic hospitals as having competing institutional forces that are not always compatible. To keep pace with the changing demands of religion and the social role of the hospital, Catholic hospitals continue to redefine themselves. An adaptive framework is used to explain choices Catholic hospitals may need to make to justify their existence. View Full-Text
Keywords: Catholic hospitals; institutional theory; Catholic identity Catholic hospitals; institutional theory; Catholic identity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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White, K.R. When Institutions Collide: The Competing Forces of Hospitals Sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church. Religions 2013, 4, 14-29.

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