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J Health Hum Serv Adm. 2007 Spring;29(4):448-77.

Restructuring the multi-professional organization: professional identity and adjustment to change in a public hospital.

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The University of Queensland.


The present study explored the multiple identities held by health professionals in a large public hospital that was experiencing organizational change that involved the transition from the traditional use of professional hierarchies to the use of new clinical teams. Consistent with predictions from social identity theory and research, the results of an organization-wide survey (N = 615) reveal the protective role of identification with professional departments during change that threatened group status. Professional departments were the preferred target of identification of employees, and employees who preferred this target reported a stronger sense of identification. Also consistent with our predictions, employees who were members of higher status groups reported greater job satisfaction, higher levels of openness to organizational change, and reduced levels of change-related uncertainty. These results were more pronounced for employees who identified with their professional department. Implications for managing multiple identities during organizational transition are discussed.

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