The research aims at investigating the issues related to the implementation of systems useful to assess the performance of the CEOs in the healthcare organizations belonging to Italian Regional Health Services. The implementation of such systems is regarded here as a transformational process and, accordingly, this paper employs Habermas’ theory about society - as advanced by Broadbent and Laughlin - to interpret and discuss the results. A meaning-oriented content analysis of the Regional Health Plans has been carried out to understand the characteristics of the performance evaluation systems designed by each Region. Moreover, a cluster analysis has been performed to identify homogeneous groups of Regions. The results are then discussed in the light of the theoretical framework in order to understand the type of change that the Italian Regions are experiencing. Furthermore, several contextual factors have been considered to enhance comprehension and to interpret the findings from an evolutionary perspective.
Keywords: Healthcare organizations, CEO, Habermas’ theory, transformational process, Regional Health Services, performance evaluation.