eCite Digital Repository

'It's an Interesting Conversation I'm Hearing': The Doctor as Manager


Iedema, R and Degeling, P and Braithwaite, J and White, L, 'It's an Interesting Conversation I'm Hearing': The Doctor as Manager, Organization Studies, 25, (1) pp. 15-33. ISSN 0170-8406 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1177/0170840604038174


The aim of this article is to outline in discursive-linguistic terms how doctor-managers (or 'physician-executives' as they are termed in the USA) manage the incommensurate dimensions of their boundary position between profession and organization. In order to achieve this we undertook a discourse analytical study of both recorded, situated talk and open interview data focusing on one doctor-manager navigating between profession and organization. The doctor-manager at the centre of this study locates himself on the boundary of at least three discourses which, in many respects, are incommensurate. These are the profession-specific discourse of clinical medicine, the resource-efficiency and systematization discourse of management, and an inter-personalizing discourse devoted to hedging and mitigating contradictions. While this multi-vocality in itself is not surprising, data show that the doctor-manager positions himself across these discourses and manages their inherent incommensurabilities before a heterogeneous audience and on occasions even within the one utterance. In this particular case, boundary management is achieved by weaving incommensurable positions together into the social and linguistic dynamics of a single, heteroglossic stream of talk. This highly complex and dialogic strategy enables the doctor-manager to dissimulate the disjunction between his reluctance to impose organizational rules on his medical colleagues and his perception that such rules, in the future (to some extent at least), will be the appropriate means for managing the clinical work, and through that the organization.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Strategy, management and organisational behaviour
Research Field:Organisation and management theory
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Iedema, R (Professor Rick Iedema)
ID Code:96687
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:110
Deposited By:Health Sciences B
Deposited On:2014-11-17
Last Modified:2014-11-17

Repository Staff Only: item control page