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Mission Statement and Financial Performance of Psychiatric Clinics in German-Speaking Switzerland

Abstract of the Student #Thesis: Ralf Hilpert


Little research is available on the topic of hospital mission statements, especially in the field of psychiatry. This study tries to deal with the matter by exploring the dichotomy of ethical vs. business attitude in mission statements because staff in psychiatric institutions feels strongly about this issue.


The mission statements of 39 psychiatric hospitals, big (level 1) and small (level 2) in German speaking Switzerland were analyzed according to ethical and business contents and compared with their financial performance using statistical methods (T-tests and regression analyses). Financial data was taken from published statistics of the national health authority (Bundesamt für Gesundheit).


According to the T-tests, the small, level 2 psychiatric hospitals contained more ethical aspects in their mission statements than the big, level 1 psychiatric hospitals (p=0.02). The smaller level 2 hospitals in average generated almost only half the financial loss than the bigger level 2 hospitals (p=0.12). Business content was comparable in both groups’ mission statements (p=0.90). Regression analysis found a small, but general trend, that, irrespective of the hospital groups, more ethical contents are associated with better financial results, and more business contents with worse financial results.


Small psychiatric clinics seem to have their right to existence in German speaking Switzerland by showing higher ethical attitude and better financial results. Small psychiatric hospitals are ethically more consistent according to their mission statements and maybe financially sounder according to their reported data than bigger hospitals. In (re-)writing a mission statement for a psychiatric institution much care should be given to the language, reflecting a high ethical attitude. Other possible influences and explanations for the results are discussed. This result might open the way for more research in this field, and if confirmed, possibly develop psychiatric care away from big institutions towards smaller, ethically and financially sounder entities.

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