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Acta Clin Belg. 2014 Aug;69(4):309-11. doi: 10.1179/0001551214Z.00000000068. Epub 2014 May 20.

Hospital doctors behave differently, and only by respecting the fundamentals of professional organizations will managers be able to create common goals with professionals.


Hospital doctors behave differently from other hospital workers. The general and specific characteristics of the doctors' behavior are described. As professionals, doctors want to make autonomous decisions and more specifically, they negotiate differently. The best description of their negotiation style is one that features multi-actor, multi-issue characteristics. They behave as actors in a network in never-ending rounds of negotiations with variable issues up for discussion: one time you lose, the next you win. A doctor's career starts with a long residency period in which he or she absorbs professional habits. His or her knowledge and way of organizing are implicit. It is hard for him or her to explicitly describe what he or she is doing. This makes it difficult for managers to discuss quality issues with doctors. Dealing with disruptive behavior is not easy either. The difficult tasks of the chief medical officer, who acts as a go-between, are highlighted. Only when managers respect the fundamentals of the professional organization will they be able to create common goals with the professionals. Common goals bring about better care in hospitals.


Hospital management; Management of professionals,; Professional organization,; Professionals,

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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