Throughout the fields of medicine and organization studies, there are growing indications of the value of the humanities for enriching scholarship, education, and practice. However, the field of healthcare management has yet to consider the promise of the humanities for illuminating its particular domain. This perspective paper explores how the humanities might begin to play a role in healthcare management by focusing on three broad areas: (1) understanding the lived experiences of management, (2) offsetting the “tyranny of metrics”, and (3) confronting rather than avoiding anxiety. While preliminary in presentation, these areas are intended to facilitate wider consideration of the humanities in healthcare management and to encourage interdisciplinary dialogue. The paper also identifies actionable approaches that might be derived from such a dialogue, including substantiating critical healthcare management scholarship, collaborating with humanities educators to design novel curricula, proposing alternatives to unduly circumscribed performance targets and competency assessments, creating case studies of formative experiences of practicing healthcare managers, and advancing guidelines for better managing anxiety and its concomitant stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue in healthcare organizations. The paper concludes by discussing the potential risks of incorporating the humanities into healthcare management, while also offering a prospective synthesis from an interdisciplinary approach.
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