Healthcare Organizational Culture Study Reveals Variations Among Physicians Influencing Job Satisfaction and Commitment

Newly released demographic variable analysis of data comparing physician subgroups to aggregate shows healthcare administrators why organizational culture should not be underestimated as a physician engagement, alignment, retention and recruitment strategy

Healthcare Organizational Culture Study Reveals Variations Among Physicians Influencing Job Satisfaction and Commitment

Roepke Public Relations

Physicians’ age, gender, primary or specialty provider role and their organization’s structure and leadership are variables that correlate with specific desired organizational cultural attributes, as well as cultural fit and how it may impact retention, turnover and job satisfaction, according to demographic variable analysis released today by .

The initial , conducted in October 2012, explored the influence of 14 cultural attributes on physicians’ overall satisfaction and their perceptions about their organization’s performance related to those cultural attributes, as well as their perceptions around their own cultural fit within their organizations and whether organizational culture had influenced career choices. The newly released data identifies variations in physician population subgroups compared to the aggregate in terms of how they rank and value specific attributes.

According to Mitchell Best, COO, Physician Wellness Services, “The new study findings are a signal that depending on the type of organization and the composition of its physician population, not all cultural attributes may be as valued—both for the organization as a whole and between the different physician demographic groups within it. The findings underscore the importance of clearly defining what each attribute means to an organization and its physicians, with a high degree of specificity and in a manner that ties to measurability wherever possible. This will ensure a clear understanding by all parties and help with operationalizing cultural attributes.”

“The study results indicate that a one-size-fits-all approach to organizational culture may not work in healthcare organizations, especially for larger, multi-specialty, multi-location groups or systems where understanding the underlying dynamics of a more disparate, dispersed physician population can be valuable,” said , senior vice president at Cejka Search, the study co-sponsor. “At a time of increasing acquisitions and mergers of physician practices and health systems, acknowledgement of organizational culture and examination of key differences between groups can create greater understanding and, if addressed effectively, smooth and facilitate integration efforts.”

To further understand the impact of organizational culture on physicians, single-variable analyses were done on the aggregate physician survey results for five questions to see if there were significant differences when looked at by: gender; age cohort (under 40, 40-59, 60 and over); primary care vs. specialists; physician-led organizations vs. non-physician led; and for-profit vs. nonprofit organizations.

Key findings include:

“Contrary to conventional perceptions of the oldest cohort, they value adaptiveness to change and an innovative approach to care at a slightly higher rate than the aggregate and compared to the youngest cohort,” noted , M.D., Physician Wellness Services consulting physician. “Overall, a key take-away for administrators is that at a time when medicine is seeing sweeping gender and generational demographic changes, it’s critical to understand that different age and gender groups have different values regarding culture, which will be critical when it comes to developing successful physician engagement, retention and recruitment strategies.”

“It appears that cultural fit is more important to primary care physicians than to specialists and they differ in how they value cultural attributes,” said , M.D., M.B.A., Physician Wellness Services consulting physician. “The primary care group scored that they valued respectful communication, a team-focused environment, a collaborative leadership style and clear mission and values to a higher degree than their specialist counterparts, who placed more value on accountability across roles, transparent communication and an innovative approach to care. These findings indicate that administrators may need to tailor their approaches to these two groups.”

“The results raise the question about whether there is more inherent cultural congruence because an organization is physician-led,” notes . “Also, was this a factor that physician-led respondents looked for in their current positions?”

The results indicate that, across the board, working at a for-profit organization correlates more highly with experiencing a better cultural fit, valuing it more highly and using it more as a criterion for evaluating potential and past career choices.

concludes, “We know that lack of cultural fit is the top controllable reason behind physician turnover—it influences job satisfaction, selection and departures. This analysis illustrates the universality of this, as it was true of every demographic cohort.”

The physician and administrator surveys were conducted in October 2012 using a confidential online survey instrument and collected responses from more than 2,200 physicians nationwide representing multiple specialties. Physician respondents closely reflected a demographic representation of the national physician population.

Based upon a review of the research on organizational culture attributes in healthcare organizations, 14 cultural attributes were identified that were particularly relevant to physicians. Respondents were asked to rate each of them based upon the importance of that attribute to their overall satisfaction, the degree to which they agreed their organization demonstrated that attribute and their satisfaction with their organization’s focus with regard to that attribute.

The healthcare organizational culture survey was co-sponsored by Cejka Search, , a nationally recognized physician and allied health and health care executive search firm providing services exclusively to the healthcare industry for more than 30 years. Cejka Search recruits top healthcare talent for organizations nationwide through our team of experienced professionals, award-winning recruitment technology and commitment to service excellence.

For more information on the study, please visit .

With providers in every major city and wide-ranging expertise in every aspect of behavioral health, Physician Wellness Services is the only company today that gives doctors and healthcare organizations easy access to the help they need, whenever, however and wherever they prefer. Their comprehensive, end-to-end solution includes: , , and . For more information visit: .