Strategic Health Care Management: The Case of Aetna

Strategic goals, values, vision, and mission are appropriately referred to as strategies since they direct strategists in their quest to develop crucial organizational directions. The mission aims to capture the distinct purpose of the organization or reason for its existence. The vision attempts to portray a mental image of stakeholders, patients, physicians, employees, and managers want the business to be when it is achieving its mission or purpose, hence, it is regarded as the company’s hope for the future (Swayne, Duncan, & Ginter, 2012). On the other hand, values are those principles that organizations hold crucial as the guiding principles the employees and managers cannot afford to compromise as they plan to achieve their mission as they also pursue strategic goals and missions (Newhouse & Balotsky, 2013). Strategic goals are the overarching outcomes that the organization pursues so that it can achieve its vision and mission. Hence, the components of strategic direction, including organizational culture, values, mission, and vision are relevant to the strategic management of Aetna

A  Review of Aetna’s Mission, Vision, and Values Statements

Aetna is committed to the mission of the provision of quality and affordable healthcare by making sure that its clients receive financial and health freedom while at the same time securing their financial against some form of health risks. To support these commitments the healthcare facility has enhanced a common purpose, willingness to provide quality care, and sound communication systems (Dialynas, Chew & Kristof, 2010). Importantly, the inculcation of the reliance of the premise of the real being of a common purpose, inclusive of other elements, assists managers in making sense of the environment. In essence, the employees and management of this organization have succinctly understood its purpose, in the context of the complexity of the environment, which has since then been reduced and organized in such a way that the analysis of the organizational goals has been achieved (Kotalik et al., 2014). Hence, the complex environment appears to be a subsiding issue that can be contained through a well-designed strategic mission, reason being the mission as a statement of purpose performs a critical role in focusing strategic attention towards only the relevant issues regarding the environment.

Evidence that can be drawn from this organization is a case in point that if the manager of this long-term healthcare facility simultaneously puts into account the constant turbulence in this organization’s environment, its environment may seem overwhelming and rather confusing. To achieve the desired outcome, the managers have to effectively track all the existing changes happening in politics, demographics, cultural values, and biotechnology (Dialynas, Chew & Kristof, 2010). Nonetheless, the management of this facility appears to have focused more on only the existing aspects of the environment that are associated to aging trends of the elderly and their escalating financial well-being, but from the viewpoint of this organization’s long-term care, the tasks appears more manageable.

Mission is designed from the needs of every organizational stakeholders who comprise teams with stake in the survival and success of this healthcare facility. Management scholars, on the other hand, term vision as a statement that expresses hope. It provides that a sense of hope and describes how the facility will tend to look like in the future as it strive to fulfill its purpose (Swayne, Duncan & Ginter, 2012). Aetna has developed effective vision that encompasses four crucial attributes, including imagery, future orientation, uniqueness, and idealism. It is therefore imperative to note that visions focus on desirable future states, standards, and ideals. The focus on the desired ideals motivates every stakeholder of this facility to reflect on possibilities. Actually, vision communicates what this facility could become if every stakeholder worked diligently to achieve the potential (Dialynas, Chew & Kristof, 2010). Notably, healthcare organization can realize their potentials in the presence of committed and forward-looking leaders. The vision of this facility is effective in the sense that it guides and offers a compass heading to the direction its leadership collectively desires to go (Greener, 2015). As mentioned earlier, visions are developed on images about the future, and when individuals are requested to vividly describe items or places they often do the descriptions in the form of images and they rely pay much attention to tangible outcomes. Indeed, these images inspire individuals to pursue what appears seemingly impossible.

Aetna’s values statements are enshrined in the commitment to integrity, excellence, caring, and inspiration as they work towards delivering their healthcare mandates. Values constitute fundamental principles that this healthcare facility and individuals stand for, in conformity to its mission as well as vision, which has made this organization unique. In most situations, organizational discussions focus on values for socially responsible processes guiding decision making and ethical principles (Dialynas, Chew & Kristof, 2010). Hence, social responsibility and ethical values are crucial, not just to Aetna or its long-term care facility, but also it everyone. Nonetheless, certain values exist that specific to this organization either as well as conducts that have distinguished the behavior that members collectively desire in the future or past behaviors of its members. Continuous improvement or total quality management in this situation constitutes a sense o value that encourages innovation, teamwork, and entrepreneurial spirit. It is imperative that key stakeholders, employees, and managers understand the expected values that can drive the organization (Greener, 2015). Philosophy, beliefs, and core values appear clearer at the beginning states of the organizational development but gradually diminish as it matures. The values of Aetna start with the statement of its core belief in its workforce and advances into its core values.

Analysis of Aetna’s Directional Strategies

Directional strategies permit leaders to state what this particular organization ought to do and make it explicit the manner it should conduct its business. To realize this, every attempt has to be made to create and communicate well designed and document statements of this organization’s strategic goals, values, vision, and mission (Scott, 2015). Strategic leaders of this healthcare facility have recognized the fact that strategic planning constitutes a logical process and the mission of this organization drives the process of making decision, bearing in mind, the needs of the stakeholders are considered (Swayne, Duncan & Ginter, 2012). In most situations, the organization undertakes corporate social responsibility agenda, making sure that its employees work in a safe environment as it embarks of giving back to the society through corporate sponsorship, for instance through its breast health initiatives, diabetes initiatives, and depression initiatives (Ginter, Duncan & Swayne, 2013). Importantly, its vision offers for the future as well as values show patients, stakeholders, and employees whom this facility will operate. Hence, Aetna’s directional strategy fits the environment.

Summing up, Aetna is headed in the right direction given that it has well-developed and implemented strategic goals that specify what its management believes is needed for this facility to attain its mission. In addition, this mission statement enshrined in the directional strategy makes sense right by distinguishing it from other healthcare providers, in the areas of unusual commitment of doctors and nurses to treatment and research, its physical location and accessibility, and quality care patients receive (Newhouse & Balotsky, 2013). This well-communicated vision, coupled with visionary leadership of this facility, motivates stakeholders and helps in achieving mission.


Aetna should think of scaling up its operations by diversifying and capturing new market segments. In doing so, it will have to conduct some assessment of the environment using strategic tools of PESTLE analysis before initiating any newly proposed program. Hence, the company stands a better chance of expanding to other new regions, following its directional strategy.


Dialynas, A., Chew, D., & Kristof, K. (2010). Strategic Report for Aetna, Inc.

Ginter, P. M., Duncan, W. J., & Swayne, L. E. (2013). Strategic management of health care organizations (7th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Chapter 7, "Evaluation of Alternatives and Strategic Choice," pages 255-304.

Greener, I. (2015). Health management as strategic behavior: Managing medics and performance in the NHS. Public Management Review7(1), 95-110.

Kotalik, J., et al. (2014). Framework for ethical decision-making based on mission, vision and values of the institution. HEC Forum, 26(2), 125-133.

Newhouse, J. J., & Balotsky, E. R. (2013). Factors motivating hospital CEOs to commit to ethical integration in their institutions: A quantitative analysis. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 10(2), 46-54.

Scott, B. C. (2015). Hospital boards-Why quality and safety matter. Physician Leadership Journal, 2(1), 62-64.

Swayne, L. E., Duncan, W. J., & Ginter, P. M. (2012). Strategic management of health care organizations. John Wiley & Sons.


   Threats – T Nationalized health policies can impact the firm Economic crisis in various nations may threaten the survival of the company Different laws and regulation may affect the company’s efficiency and reduce its revenue    Weaknesses – W The company has less diversity in products and policies. Cost structure of the policies and products is relatively high as compared to those of other peer companies The online presence of the company is passive. High costs involved in training
  Opportunities-O The potentiality of mergers and acquisitions increases company’s market share. Opening economies in Business mergers with other companies may promote the market position of the company. The company is better placed to meet the changing needs of its clientele base. The company can introduce new products and services in both old and prospective markets. Globalization enhances the company’s ability to spread across the world. Global per capita income growth exceeding that of the United States  SO STRATEGIES Pursue new mergers and acquisitions in America and Africa.       (S1, O2, O3,O4,O6,)  WO STRATEGIES The company is better placed to meet the changing needs of its clientele base. (O3, O5, W1,)  
  Strengths – S An excellent brand that is effective in creating customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty. Company implements cost-effective policies The company has favorable economies of scale that enable it to main its pricing power. Geographical coverage of the company enables it to reach a broad audience of customers.  ST STRATEGIES An excellent brand that is effective in creating customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.  (S1, T3, T5)   The company has favorable economies of scale that enable it to main its pricing power. (S3, T2, T1 )  WT STRATEGIES Reduce cooperate operation costs (W2, T1, T2, T3)