The impact of management on medical professionalism: a review

Numerato, D., Salvatore, D., Fattore, G.
Submitted: May, 2012

In the last three decades, medical doctors have increasingly been exposed to management control measures. This phenomenon has been reflected in a number of studies in various disciplines, including sociology, organisation studies, management, and health service research. This article seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of the studies dealing with the impact of management on professional control. In particular, it seeks to bridge the diversity of assumptions, theoretical perspectives and conceptual underpinnings at play, by exploring synergies between them and opening up new horizons for research. The review shows how the relationship between clinicians and management has been analysed at an organisational level using two interconnected analytical frameworks focusing on the sociocultural and task-related dimensions of professionalism. In the final discussion, we argue that comparative, longitudinal and cross-sectional research is necessary, and there is a need to overcome the hegemony/resistance framework in current analyses of the impact of management on professionalism. Such an approach would contribute to the revision of macro theories of professionalism and stimulate emerging research by examining different perspectives towards management in medical specialisations. This approach might also stimulate a discussion of medical professionals’ relationships with members of other professional groups, including nurses and healthcare managers.

Resource Type:
  • Peer Reviewed Research
Study Design:
  • Review
  • HCO