Administration and the physician

Goss, M.E.

American Journal of Public Health and the Nation's Health 52: 183-191


ISSN/ISBN: 0002-9572
PMID: 13900647
DOI: 10.2105/ajph.52.2.183
Accession: 029912958

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This study attempted to determine whether, in addition to organizational requirements stemming from professional values, personal interest in administration plays a part in accounting for the time physicians spend on administrative work. Data were obtained from a questionnaire survey of 507 physicians in a Northeastern medical center and from observation and informal interviewing. Physicians openly viewed administration as a relatively non-professional and unappealing type of activity in comparison with patient care, teaching, or research. Yet the pattern of combining these activities with administrative duties was found to be institutionalized for full-time salaried staff physicians; most of these men reported spending at least some time on administration. That such men are not entirely unwilling victims of the organizational obligations entailed in their choice of academic medicine as a career was suggested by the greater personal interest in administration they expressed as compared with the part-time staff, whose primary career commitment was to private practice. Variations in amount of personal interest in administration according to academic rank within the full-time staff also suggested that personal interest may help account for willingness to spend time on administrative duties only so long as these duties do not greatly interfere with other, more professional types of work. Further, longitudinal research on these problems would be desirable.