Exploring the institutional logics of health professions education scholarship units

Lara Varpio*, Bridget O'Brien, Wendy Hu, Olle ten Cate, Steven J. Durning, Cees van der Vleuten, Larry Gruppen, David Irby, Susan Humphrey-Murto, Stanley J. Hamstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

CONTEXT Although health professions education scholarship units (HPESUs) share a commitment to the production and dissemination of rigorous educational practices and research, they are situated in many different contexts and have a wide range of structures and functions.

OBJECTIVES In this study, the authors explore the institutional logics common across HPESUs, and how these logics influence the organisation and activities of HPESUs.

METHODS The authors analysed interviews with HPESU leaders in Canada (n = 12), Australia (n = 21), New Zealand (n = 3) and the USA (n = 11). Using an iterative process, they engaged in inductive and deductive analyses to identify institutional logics across all participating HPESUs. They explored the contextual factors that influence how these institutional logics impact each HPESU's structure and function.

RESULTS Participants identified three institutional logics influencing the organisational structure and functions of an HPESU: (i) the logic of financial accountability; (ii) the logic of a cohesive education continuum, and (iii) the logic of academic research, service and teaching. Although most HPESUs embodied all three logics, the power of the logics varied among units. The relative power of each logic influenced leaders' decisions about how members of the unit allocate their time, and what kinds of scholarly contribution and product are valued by the HPESU.

CONCLUSIONS Identifying the configuration of these three logics within and across HPESUs provides insights into the reasons why individual units are structured and function in particular ways. Having a common language in which to discuss these logics can enhance transparency, facilitate evaluation, and help leaders select appropriate indicators of HPESU success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-767
Number of pages13
JournalMedical Education
Volume51
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

Keywords

  • MEDICAL-EDUCATION
  • ORGANIZATIONS
  • COMPLEXITY
  • RESPONSES

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