Title

Manager-physician relationships: an organizational theory perspective.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Abstract

Manager-physician relationships are a critical determinant of the success of health care organizations. As the health care industry is moving toward a situation characterized by higher scarcity of resources, fiercer competition, more corporitization, and strict cost-containment approaches, managers and physicians should, more than ever, work together under conjoint or shared authority. Thus, their relationship can be described as one of high rewards, but also of high risk because of the wide range of differences that exist between them: different socializations and trainings resulting in different worldviews, value orientation and expectations and different cultures. In brief, managers and physicians represent different "tribes," each with its language, values, culture, thought patterns, and rules of the game. This article's main objective is to determine the underlying factors in the manager-physician relationship and to suggest ways that make this relationship more effective. Four different organizational perspectives will be used. The occupational perspective will give insights on the internal characteristics of the occupational communities of managers and physicians. The theory of deprofessionalization of physicians will also be discussed. The structuring perspective will look at the manager-physician relationship as a structure in the organization and will determine the effects of contextual factors (size, task uncertainty, strategy, and environment) on this relationship and the resulting effect on performance and effectiveness of the organization. The culture and control perspective will help detect the cultural differences between managers and physicians and how these interact to affect control over the decision-making areas in the hospital. The power, conflict, and dialectics perspective will shed the light on the conflicting interests of managers and physicians and how these shape the "power game" in the organization. Consequently, a theoretical model of manager-physician relationships that encompasses all these perspectives is developed.

Document Object Identifier (DOI)

176

Publication Information

The health care manager

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