Worldviews in collision: conflict and collaboration across professional lines



The process of providing health services in hospitals is inherently interdisciplinary; many of the challenges to enhancing quality and safety involve the human aspects of this interdisciplinary system. Each of the major disciplines—physicians, nurses, allied health providers, and health administrators—represent qualitatively distinct sets of goals and professional values, influencing not only current behavior but also who chooses these roles in the first place. Once a career is selected, the educational process further fortifies these differences, such that new professionals enter the workplace with fundamentally divergent perspectives on how care should be provided and how processes should be improved. These differences are in some ways functional but in other ways create work patterns that are both dysfunctional and very puzzling to outsiders. In this paper, we provide a guide to hospital organizational behavior through the lenses of professional preparation and interprofessional conflict. We review research on career choice, education, and cross-disciplinary teamwork in healthcare, and end with a set of implications for organizational behavior researchers. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.