HRM innovations in rapid growth contexts: the healthcare sector in IndiaThe International Journal of Human Resource Management


Vasanthi Srinivasan, Rajesh Chandwani
Strategy and Management / Management of Technology and Innovation / Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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HRM innovations in rapid growth contexts: the healthcare sector in India

Vasanthi Srinivasana & Rajesh Chandwania a Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management,

Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

Published online: 08 Jan 2014.

To cite this article: Vasanthi Srinivasan & Rajesh Chandwani (2014) HRM innovations in rapid growth contexts: the healthcare sector in India, The International Journal of Human Resource

Management, 25:10, 1505-1525, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2013.870308

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HRM innovations in rapid growth contexts: the healthcare sector in


Vasanthi Srinivasan* and Rajesh Chandwani

Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, Indian Institute of Management,


Human resource management (HRM) researchers have shown that rapid-growth organizations face HR challenges that vastly differ from their low-growth counterparts.

These include acquiring and retaining key talent, and adapting the mind-set of the employees as the organization expands in size and scope. However, there is a paucity of research that examines the HRM challenges faced by rapidly growing organizations in dynamically growing sectors in emerging economies, particularly healthcare. In this study, we attempt to fill this gap by examining the HR challenges faced by rapidgrowth organizations in the healthcare sector in India. Through interviews with 23 key top managers in healthcare organizations, the study identifies the specific challenges arising out of the privatization and corporatization of healthcare facilities, and the new emerging business models being used in healthcare delivery. Some of the challenges are at the sectoral level requiring policy interventions by government, such as stepping up educational curriculums to keep pace with the rapid growth in the need for healthcare workers. Others are at the firm level demanding hybridized approaches to

HR both as a function and as a strategy, specifically encouraging companies to innovate to fill the voids rather than waiting for crisis to appear.

Keywords: evolving environment; healthcare in India; healthcare sector; human resource issues; rapid-growth organizations


Rapid-growth organizations – i.e. those that perform significantly better than their peer group and the industry average – have long intrigued academicians, policy makers and practitioners (Barringer, Jones and Lewis 1998; Mason and Brown 2011). Kotter and Sathe (1978) defined rapid-growth organizations as those which have grown at more than a 20% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over four to five years. Researchers have identified that the human resourcemanagement (HRM) challenges in such rapid-growth organizations differ from their low-growth counterparts (Rich 1999; Barringer and Jones 2004), especially in acquiring and retaining key talent, enhancing performance and evolving the mind-set of employees as the organization increases in size and scope (Kotter and Sathe 1978; Barringer,

Jones and Neubaum 2005; Budhwar, Varma, Singh and Dhar 2006).

The healthcare industry in India is a living example of these HRM challenges. Over the past few years, the Indian economy witnessed an annual GDP growth rate of 8–10%.1

While at the time of this writing (in mid-2013), this rate has slowed to about 6%, India is still one of the world’s fastest growing nations.2 Against this backdrop, the Indian healthcare sector has been growing rapidly, due to increasing privatization and corporatization of the sector (Baru 2008). Many healthcare organizations fall into the category of rapid-growth organizations. q 2014 Taylor & Francis *Corresponding author. Email:

The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 2014

Vol. 25, No. 10, 1505–1525,

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HR are a critical determinant of healthcare service performance in terms of quality and cost (Bartram and Dowling 2013). Several studies have highlighted general HRM issues in healthcare, such as a shortage of nurses, poor commitment and job satisfaction among doctors and medical staff, and concerns about quality and safety in patient care (Leggat,