A survey of staff attitudes and comparative managerial and non-managerial views in a clinical directorate

Jeffrey Braithwaite*, Mary T. Westbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Widespread implementation of clinical directorates (CDs) has displaced traditional structures of hospitals over the past 20 years. Responses range from support for involving clinicians in organizational processes along with the associated managerial benefits, to criticism that foreshadows potential negative effects and warns that CDs will not of themselves resolve embedded health sector problems. There is limited empirical evidence about the transition and the views of staff toward CDs. To investigate staff attitudes, a questionnaire was developed and administered in a survey of 107 staff in a large hospital that had introduced CDs three years previously. Attitudes were assessed in terms of their intensity, polarity, uncertainty and positivism toward CDs. Managers and other staff held similar attitudes on 66% of questionnaire items. Significant differences were found in the remaining one-third of items. Managers were positive about CDs, whereas non-managers' approval was limited and muted. Managers' attitudes were more intense, less uncertain and less polarized than were non-managers'. They differed primarily in the areas of working relations and power. Over recent years, CDs seem to have become institutionalized and investigations into their operation have declined. Our results suggest that taking the benefits of CDs for granted is premature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-166
Number of pages26
JournalHealth Services Management Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


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