Culture in community pharmacy organisations: what can we glean from the literature?

J Health Organ Manag. 2011;25(4):420-54. doi: 10.1108/14777261111155047.


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to report on the findings of a systematic literature review-seeking to elicit existing evidence of the nature of organisational culture in community pharmacy organisations.

Design/methodology/approach: This review takes a novel approach to systematically identifying and synthesising the peer-reviewed research literature pertaining to organisational culture in this setting, its antecedents and outcomes.

Findings: The review provides an overview of the scope of and research methods used in the identified literature, together with a narrative synthesis of its findings, framed within five dimensions of organisational culture: the professional-business role dichotomy; workload, management style, social support and autonomy; professional culture; attitudes to change and innovation; and entrepreneurial orientation.

Research limitations/implications: There is a need for more detailed and holistic exploration of organisational culture in community pharmacy, using a greater diversity of research methods and a greater focus on patient-related outcomes.

Originality/value: This paper demonstrates that, whilst little research has explicitly investigated organisational culture in this context, there exists a range of evidence describing aspects of that culture, some of the environmental and organisational factors helping to shape it, and its impact on the pharmacy workforce, services delivered and business outcomes. It highlights the importance of the business-professional role dichotomy in community pharmacy; the influence of individual pharmacists' characteristics and organisational setting; and the impact on pharmacists' wellbeing and job satisfaction and the services delivered. It provides less evidence of the impact of organisational culture on the quality and safety of service provision.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Community Pharmacy Services / organization & administration*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacists / psychology
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Professional Practice*
  • Social Support