Determining Power Factors of Clinical Departments in a Medical Center
Medical Education Unit, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
The intradepartmental power factors in a medical center were studied. 3 strategic contingency factors were examined, based on the model of Hickson et al. (1971): centrality, substitutability, and coping-with uncertainty. Only coping-with-uncertainty contributed directly to departmental power, and not the summation of the 3.
Power derives from department resources, connections and influence outside the medical center. Aspects related to in- patient treatment or teaching of residents did not contribute directly to departmental power status. Power is gained in stages: in the first the department contributes to the factor of centrality (mainly patient treatment, teaching and research). In the middle stage, power is gained due to the factor of substitutability- the unique services and research which the department has developed. The third stage contributes directly to power-coping with uncertainty. This implies the ability of a department to solve crucial problems of the medical center. Surprisingly, the clinical field (i.e. surgery) did not contribute significantly to power. The current trend is toward empowering ambulatory units in the medical center.