Clinicians and the governance of hospitals: a cross-cultural perspective on relations between profession and management

Soc Sci Med. 2006 Aug;63(3):757-75. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.01.034. Epub 2006 Mar 31.


This paper explores similarities and differences in the value stances of clinicians and hospital managers in Australia, England, New Zealand and China, and provides some new insights into how we theorise about the health profession and its relations with management. The paper draws on data derived from a closed-ended questionnaire administered to 2637 hospital-based medical, nursing and managerial staff. We examine variations between the countries in the value orientations of doctors, nurses and managers by considering their assessments of issues that are the focus of reform. In particular, we examine the ways in which the Chinese findings differ from those of the other countries. Whereas the results from the Commonwealth hospitals showed a marked division between clinicians and managers about issues that can affect clinical autonomy, this was not the case in the Chinese hospitals. The concluding discussion traces these differences to a number of cultural, organisational and policy-based factors. The implications of our findings on how we conceive the relationship between professionals and organisations are then discussed, as are further lines of research.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel / ethnology*
  • Australia
  • China
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • England
  • Hospital Administration*
  • Hospital Administrators / psychology
  • Hospital-Physician Relations*
  • Humans
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • New Zealand
  • Social Values / ethnology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires