Health services management development: What formal knowledge should support the skills and experience required?

David J. Ritchie, Margaret L. Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study reports on an analysis of 17 postgraduate programs in health services management. Public information was collected from websites in February 2010. Data analysed included core subject abstracts, admission requirements and length and aims of each course. Findings indicate that only three out of 16 subjects identified as core are common to more than 50% of the programs, with the eight most common individual subjects appearing in only a third of programs. This suggests diversity in what is deemed core foundational knowledge in managing health services and the approach taken to management development. We believe there should be greater consensus on core subjects in a specialist health services management qualification. What is known about the topic? With changes in the organisational structure of health organisations in Australia over the past two decades, managerial positions and roles have also changed. The educational preparation for those managerial roles would also be expected to have changed but core foundational knowledge should remain similar between the various academic institutions. What does this paper add? This paper indicates greater diversity in core knowledge areas in health services management education than expected despite a similar target audience. What are the implications for practitioners? There are differences in what are deemed to be core foundational areas of knowledge required in specialist management development between academic programs. Management development requires a balance between knowledge, skills and experience and intending students should seek information from a variety of sources in deciding which program best suits their development needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-193
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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