From the perspective of managerialism, the professional as manager is something of an oxymoron. Within this influential ideology, managers are seen as crucial to organizational success, while professional groups are considered notoriously negligent of overall organizational goals. Even outside this framework, in practical as well as in research oriented literature, the professional as manager is typically discussed in terms of role-conflict, contradictory demands and incompatible identities. In this study of physician leadership, a quite different picture of the professional as manager emerges, where professional commitment and managerial involvement are actually integrated. The empirical inquiry deals with physician heads of department and section managers at a Swedish teaching hospital. Three medical departments and their evolution from the middle of the 1940s to the end of the 90s were studied, with extensive interviewing, archival study and participant observation.
The physician managers studied exposed a range of combinations of personal and managerial influence, with various degrees of participation. For all examined leaders, however, the profession was clearly an important basis of influence. Furthermore, all leaders were actively engaged in organizational matters, not the least since organizational arrangements were important to medical specialty groups. The results lend support to the suggestion that assuming managerial positions may be a new professional strategy. In conclusion, professional identity need not be an obstacle to organizational leadership; in fact, the two roles can be successfully combined, to the benefit of professional subgroups and possibly to health care organizations in general.
2004. 17- p.