Health Professions Education Scholarship Unit Leaders as Institutional Entrepreneurs

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Abstract

Purpose

Health professions education scholarship units (HPESUs) are organizational structures within which a group is substantively engaged in health professions education scholarship. Little research investigates the strategies employed by HPESU administrative leaders to secure and maintain HPESU success. Using institutional entrepreneurship as a theoretical lens, this study asks: Do HPESU administrative leaders act as institutional entrepreneurs (IEs)?

Method

This study recontextualizes two preexisting qualitative datasets that comprised interviews with leaders in health professions education in Canada (2011–2012) and Australia and New Zealand (2013–1014). Two researchers iteratively analyzed the data using the institutional entrepreneurship construct until consensus was achieved. A third investigator independently reviewed and contributed to the recontextualized analyses. A summary of the analyses was shared with all authors, and their feedback was incorporated into the final interpretations.

Results

HPESU leaders act as IEs in three ways. First, HPESU leaders construct arguments and position statements about how the HPESU resolves an institution’s problem(s). This theorization discourse justifies the existence and support of the HPESU. Second, the leaders strategically cultivate relationships with the leader of the institution within which the HPESU sits, the leaders of large academic groups with which the HPESU partners, and the clinician educators who want careers in health professions education. Third, the leaders work to increase the local visibility of the HPESU.

Conclusions

Practical insights into how institutional leaders interested in launching an HPESU can harness these findings are discussed.

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