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This article proposes a systems level conceptualization of physician professionalism that is embedded in and results from the characteristics of the organizations in which doctors work such as hospitals, group practices and physician organizations.The goal of this study was to develop and test the systems model of professionalism.In total, 25 interviews were conducted in Minneapolis and Miami. Job titles of the subjects included hospital presidents, medical directors, chairs of hospital departments, quality and safety directors, chief of quality improvement and practising physicians. The data from the interviews were coded and then sorted by members of the study team into major and minor themes.Virtually, all of the subjects were readily able to confirm aspects of the model by providing real-life examples of factors at the practice, hospital and market levels that they believed strongly influenced the extent to which physicians adhere, or fail to adhere, to the professional norms.The systems model of professionalism was consistent with the views and experiences of physicians and administrators in two different geographic regions of the USA. If born out by further research, this model has implications for interventions aimed at improving professionalism as well as for professionalism as a field of study.