Physician Executives in Managed Care: Characteristics and Job Involvement Across Two Career Stages

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This paper examines characteristics, job involvement, and career stage differences among 294 physician executives working in managed care settings. The following research questions guide the study:


Several observations are made from the findings. First, contemporary physician executives see management as an exciting alternative career that involves multiple work loyalties, weaker beliefs in traditional professional values, and the sacrifice of significant amounts of clinical for management work. Second, these trends are more pronounced for physician executives at earlier points in their medical careers, although their work loyalties to profession and employing organization are weaker than older physician executives' loyalties. Younger individuals' involvement in management work, more than older individuals' involvement, appears to depend upon the surrounding work climate within the organization. Finally, the amount of time spent by physician executives as clinicians is inversely related to how psychologically attached they are to management, regardless of career stage.


An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1998 Academy of Management Meetings in San Diego, California, where it received the Best Paper Award in the Health Care Management Division. This research was supported in part through the American College of Physician Executives.

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