Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Robert J. Pursley

Committee Members

Robert Kirk, Bill Wallace, Gregory Petty


The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship of the profitability of market conditions, management practices, and medical staff attributes of small, rural hospitals operating in North Carolina and South Carolina. The study included six research questions to measure the three independent variables.

Correlation coefficient using Spearman's Rho and Pearson Correlations were utilized to evaluate the relationship between profit and medical staff attributes and market conditions. A student's t-test evaluated management's decision to merge the rural hospital with a multi-hospital health system.

Results showed a statistically significant correlation (p < .05) between small, rural hospitals' profit and market conditions and medical staff attributes. The study concluded that rural hospitals in the Carolinas are in financial trouble, and senior leadership must broaden their understanding and involvement in the infrastructure of their local communities to form partnerships linking the success of each together.

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