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1.  Understanding multinational companies in public health systems, using a competitive advantage framework 
Background
This paper discusses the findings of a study which developed five case studies of five multinational health care companies involved in public health care systems. Strategies were analysed in terms of attitude to marketing, pricing and regulation. The company strategies have been subjected to an analysis using Porter's Five Forces, a business strategy framework, which is unusual in health policy studies.
Methods
This paper shows how analysing company strategy using a business tool can contribute to understanding the strategies of global capital in national health systems. It shows how social science methodologies can draw from business methods to explain company strategies.
Results
The five companies considered in this paper demonstrate that their strategies have many dimensions, which fit into Porter's Five Forces of comparative advantage. More importantly the Five Forces can be used to identify factors that influence company entry into public health care systems.
Conclusions
The process of examining the strategic objectives of five health care companies shows that a business tool can help to explain the actions and motives of health care companies towards public health care systems, and so contribute to a better understanding of the strategies of global capital in national health systems. Health service commissioners need to understand this dynamic process, which will evolve as the nature of public health care systems change.
doi:10.1186/1744-8603-7-19
PMCID: PMC3141382  PMID: 21722372
2.  Public sector reform and demand for human resources for health (HRH) 
This article considers some of the effects of health sector reform on human resources for health (HRH) in developing countries and countries in transition by examining the effect of fiscal reform and the introduction of decentralisation and market mechanisms to the health sector.
Fiscal reform results in pressure to measure the staff outputs of the health sector. Financial decentralisation often leads to hospitals becoming "corporatised" institutions, operating with business principles but remaining in the public sector. The introduction of market mechanisms often involves the formation of an internal market within the health sector and market testing of different functions with the private sector. This has immediate implications for the employment of health workers in the public sector, because the public sector may reduce its workforce if services are purchased from other sectors or may introduce more short-term and temporary employment contracts.
Decentralisation of budgets and administrative functions can affect the health sector, often in negative ways, by reducing resources available and confusing lines of accountability for health workers. Governance and regulation of health care, when delivered by both public and private providers, require new systems of regulation.
The increase in private sector provision has led health workers to move to the private sector. For those remaining in the public sector, there are often worsening working conditions, a lack of employment security and dismantling of collective bargaining agreements.
Human resource development is gradually being recognised as crucial to future reforms and the formulation of health policy. New information systems at local and regional level will be needed to collect data on human resources. New employment arrangements, strengthening organisational culture, training and continuing education will also be needed.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-2-15
PMCID: PMC538275  PMID: 15560841

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