Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to apply the image theory to the hospital context in order to add a perspective into the known complex relationship between physicians and hospital managers. This insight can enrich current intervention schemes used in health care to facilitate organisational change. - Design/methodology/approach: In this paper, the image theory of Alexander et al. on the known complex intergroup context of physicians and hospital managers is applied. The theory is operationalised in relative status, power, and goal incompatibility. - Findings: The data show the three variables are highly relevant and representative. Hospital managers see physicians as higher in professional status and power, and having different goals. Physicians see hospital managers to have higher power, lower status, and different goals. The study validates the applicability of the image theory in the Dutch hospital context. This results in a questionnaire suitable for performing a quick scan on the strength and direction of intergroup stereotyping within hospital organisations. - Originality/value: Data from the questionnaire give the opportunity to have insight in the way physicians and hospital managers perceive each other. This insight helps to focus attention on bottlenecks and possibilities in enhancing the co-operation between physicians and hospital managers. Research on the relationship between physicians and hospital managers is scarce and mostly of a qualitative nature. This paper is executed in both qualitative and quantitative way, which enables us to empirically and statistically validate the data. The resulting questionnaire is applicable on an organisational intergroup level, while the focus in the extant literature is mostly on the interpersonal or intragroup level.
- Hospital management
- The Netherlands