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Soc Sci Med. 2013 Oct;94:63-70. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.05.038. Epub 2013 Jul 3.

Interacting institutional logics in general dental practice.

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The University of Liverpool Department of Health Services Research, UK.


We investigate the organisational field of general dental practice and how agents change or maintain the institution of values associated with the everyday work of health care provision. Our dataset comprise archival literature and policy documents, interview data from field level actors, as well as service delivery level interview data and secondary data gathered (2011-12) from 16 English dental practices. Our analysis provides a typology of institutional logics (prevailing systems of value) experienced in the field of dental practice. Confirming current literature, we find two logics dominate how care is assessed: business-like health care and medical professionalism. We advance the literature by finding the business-like health care logic further distinguished by values of commercialism on the one hand and those of accountability and procedural diligence on the other. The logic of professionalism we also find is further distinguished into a commitment to clinical expertise and independence in delivering patient care on the one hand, and concerns for the autonomy and sustainability of a business enterprise on the other.


Accountability; Autonomy; Commercialism; Dental practice; England; Institutional logics; Institutional theory; Professionalism

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