Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

HLTHMGT 721- Health Management

15 Points

Semester 2



The application of general management principles to health organisations and resources, with particular reference to the nature of health organisations and health professional teams. Includes theory and concepts supporting the effective management of health human resources and financial resources.


Restriction: POPLHLTH 721


 This is a core course for:

and an optional course for Public Health and general Health Sciences postgraduate programmes.

Course aims and outline

Goals of the course

This is a course aimed at applying general management principles, skills and techniques in the health sector. Particular attention is paid to managing in the context of professional organisations.


Learning outcomes 

After completing this course, students should have:

  1. An appreciation of what health management entails and why health organisations behave as they do
  2. An understanding of how organisations should function if they are to meet their goals and objectives and why they do not always operate as people think they should
  3. A knowledge of effective health care teams and team leadership and implications of designing teams around the patient
  4. An understanding of managing change and effective leadership of health care teams

Content outline 

This is a course aimed at applying general management principles, skills and techniques in the health sector. Particular attention is paid to managing in the context of professional organisations.

Module 1 – The role of the health manager

The characteristics of health services and the health workforce are considered, along with the role of health services managers in that context. We commence the module by reflecting on the health sector in New Zealand in an ever-changing environment, and implications for health services management. Current developments and the implications for management will be highlighted. Many health service managers have clinical backgrounds: we will consider the skills and competencies that are transferable from one role to the other.

Module 2 – The functioning of healthcare organisations

We begin this module by exploring the challenges of managing across different health professional groupings. We then look at organisational theory, and how it can help in understanding different approaches to management. Within these accounts we reflect on which of the theories best describe different types of health care organisations in contemporary society - both public and private. Then we question whether these accounts or theories do a good job of describing organisations as we actually find them.

Module 3 – Different perspectives in health management

We begin this module by exploring different ways of looking at the world of management and see how powerful it can be to look at problems and issues from different perspectives and how choosing the best perspective can be used in problem solving in organisational settings. When then move on to see how these perspectives can be usefully applied within approaches to change management.

Module 4 – Managing teams

We begin this module by exploring the changing context of healthcare, and the implications of this for the nature of teams. We then move on to explore an approach to identifying conflict and responding to it in a way that is productive for the team. We end the module looking at the design of teams and designing the work of teams.

Module 5 – Financial resource management

This module is aimed at the application of financial management, principles, skills, tools and techniques in the health sector context. Specific reference is made to the terms and definitions, annual planning and funding cycle and mechanisms such as application of revenue, budget setting, financial reporting and analysis, business case proposals, inter-district flows, and capital asset planning.

Module 6 – Performance management

This module explores the application of management principles to drive measurable performance in individuals, teams and organisations within a healthcare context. This also includes theoretical concepts of engagement, participation and performance as individuals, teams and organisations

Learning and teaching

Learning and teaching

This course is offered in Semester 2 and is taught in a blended approach. There are six 2-hour interactive workshops spread throughout the semester. This is supported with six online modules. The expectation is that the online module will be completed before attending the workshop.

Learning resources 

Materials (articles, case studies, videos) to support each module is available on CANVAS.


The course is internally assessed based on three written pieces of work. Each piece of work is to be directed to the context of an organisational case study that you write, e.g. based on your own experience. The relative weightings are shown below:

Assignment 1 (5%) :1 page organisational case study

Assignment 2 (20%): an essay related on the health service manager role in the context of the environment of health services and the particular challenges

Assignment 3: (35%): an essay related to the application of aspects of the theoretical basis of health management issue

Assignment 4 (40%): an assignment focusing on leadership of the health professional team in relation to improving productivity or managing change  

Programme and course advice 

This is a core course in the Master in Health Leadership, and a recommended course for the health services management pathway in the public health programme, as well as for a general pathway.

It is a required course for the Postgraduate Diploma in Business in Health Management.

It is an optional course for the BHSc(Honours) programme.

Course Director

Course Administrator