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"I'm a doctor for God's sake" The GP as Manager: A multi-theory perspective

O'Riordan, Chris (2014) "I'm a doctor for God's sake" The GP as Manager: A multi-theory perspective. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

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Abstract

The primary care sector is nationally and globally recognised as being important in the efficient and effective delivery of healthcare. A key component of this sector is the General Practitioner, or GP. As a clinical professional, the GP has a traditional focus on the needs of patients. While this may constitute their primary role, GPs are also in business, creating other needs as well. Therefore, the GP – and owner specifically – is not just a clinician but is also a business manager. While previous studies have examined this latter role empirically, further theory-informed research is needed to acquire a deeper understanding of both the role itself and the context within which it exists. This study is based on semi-structured interviews with 35 GPs, thematically analysed and underpinned by literature from management, professions and role theory. The research finds that GPs manage principally at an operational oversight level, where the owner is a dominant force and in close control though potentially lacking in formal management training. While supports exist, and are valuable, they appear to be underutilised in a management capacity. Role conflict can be experienced by those GPs with managerial responsibility, as they seek to balance expectations stemming from organisational and professional demands. A lack of time compounds their difficulties in this respect, potentially giving rise to role overload and the need for some compromise. In seeking to understand what underlies the work performed and the conflicts encountered, the study also identifies a number of key influences. Contributions from this research include a more theory-based, empirically-informed understanding of the managerial role in a professional context, and a consideration of the value of such a role where resource constraints are salient concerns. In addition, the study highlights the need to consider how Organisational-Professional Conflict is conceptualised, and adds to the debate surrounding whether doctors are altruistic or self-interested. Practical implications for general practice are also identified, including the need to reconsider the role of practice managers and to address the capacity for new GPs to apply their training in a management context.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:November 2014
Refereed:No
Supervisor(s):Flood , Patrick C.
Uncontrolled Keywords:General practitioner; Management; Role theory; Professions
Subjects:Business > Management
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > DCU Business School
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:20097
Deposited On:01 Dec 2014 11:33 by Rachel Keegan. Last Modified 19 Aug 2016 01:02

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