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J Health Hum Resour Adm. 1992 Winter;14(3):307-26.

Performance in quasi-firms: an example from the Community Clinical Oncology Program.

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University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


In this analysis, the authors examined the effects of different sets of process, structure, and environmental variables on the performance of the CCOP as a quasi-firm. Specifically, they distinguished between internal organizational processes, structural, and size characteristics of the CCOP and the organizational environment created by prior NCI program experience and the relationship within the quasi-firm. The analysis revealed that these sets of organizational and environmental characteristics have differential effects on treatment accrual. The strongest predictors are those associated with the quasi-firm relationship between the CCOP and its chosen research bases. Any definitive policy implications for the design of organizational network relationships--especially the CCOPs--will require further analysis. Particular attention needs to be given to the longitudinal nature of the relationships and the ability of these organizational and environmental factors to affect other aspects of performance. Several points have been made within this initial assessment. First, the structural character of the CCOP and its relationship to its organizational environment are important factors affecting accrual performance. The subtleties of this multivariate model are not as important as simply demonstrating that the various internal and external characteristics of these organizations as quasi-firms simultaneously affect their ability to accrue patients to clinical trials. Secondly, the importance of research base relations, and particularly the significant role of nurses, needs to be emphasized. While CCOPs were originally designed as a network of physicians and hospitals, it appears that an infrastructure of professionally active nurses working within a larger organizational environment is critical to success--at least as defined by accrual to treatment protocols. Finally, the failure of prior experience with other NCI community programs to affect CCOP accrual performance suggests that such experience does not assure "organizational learning" that may enhance performance. This suggests that CCOPs can be designated de novo to maximize performance without necessarily having to undergo a developmental or experiential phase involving community cancer programs to be effective. However, the authors suspect that another method of characterizing experience may produce different results. Further analyses of these data will test these results against other measures of CCOP performance. Specifically, attention will be given to whether this same set of characteristics is predictive of accrual to cancer control research protocols. Similarly, these same organizational characteristics may or may not be associated with other dimensions of CCOP performance such as changes in physician practice patterns and/or levels of institutionalization of the CCOP within its local community.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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