Date of Conferral





Health Services


John Nemecek


Hospital performance metrics are an indicator of leadership performance. However, there is inadequate research on whether physician or nonphysician chief executive officers (CEOs) perform better in the U.S. hospitals. The purpose of this study was to examine which type of leaders is better. Leadership trait, situational leadership, and leadership behavior theories constituted the theoretical foundation. The key research question examined the relationship between a hospital's outcomes, which in this study, included hospital net income, patient experience ratings, and mortality rates, and the type of CEO in that hospital: physician or non-physician. A quantitative, causal comparative design was used to answer this question. Three hypotheses were tested using multivariate analysis of variance. The dependent variable was hospital outcomes: hospital net income, patient experience ratings, and mortality rates. The independent variable was the type of hospital CEO: physician and nonphysician. Datasets from 2014-2015 were used, which were publically available on the websites of U.S. based hospitals, research organizations, and journals. A sample of 60 hospitals was drawn from U.S. non-federal, short-term, acute care hospitals, based on number of staffed beds (n = 60). No significant differences were found between nonphysician and physician CEOs on hospitals' net income (p = .911), patient experience ratings (p = .166), or mortality rates (p = .636). Thus, the null hypotheses were retained. Findings suggest that physician and non-physician CEOs may produce similar outcomes in the hospitals they lead. Based on these findings, hospital boards can view CEO applicants equally when considering whom to hire and understanding U.S. hospital leadership.