A survey of more than 2,200 physicians exploring 14 cultural attributes shows how variables in the attributes can affect physician satisfaction and whether a practitioner believes he or she is a good fit in the organization.

Physician Wellness Services, which provides employee assistance programs, physician intervention services, and consulting and training services to practices, conducted the online survey which included physicians with a range of specialties. Results show that five characteristics--gender, age, primary care vs. specialists, physician-led organization vs. non-physician led, and profit vs. not-for-profit--can most influence an organization culture and how physicians feel about the organization.

For instance, female physician are less likely to feel a strong cultural fit with their organization than males, according to the survey. Responding female physicians ranked respectful communication and a team-focused environment at a much higher value than their male counterparts, who valued an innovative approach to care much higher than female physicians.

Physicians under age 40 valued a team-focused environment, respectful communication and supportive management higher than older colleagues. On the other hand, middle-aged physicians from 40 to 59 highly value cultural fit, but are the least likely to see themselves fitting in. And this is the age group most likely to consider cultural fit when mulling career options.

Physicians 60 or older rank a collaborative leadership style much higher than those under 40, according to survey results. The older physicians are least likely to consider cultural fit in accepting a practice or job opportunity, and are less likely to deem cultural fit as a reason for leaving a practice or job. “Contrary to conventional perceptions of the oldest cohort, they value adaptiveness to change and an innovative approach to care at a slightly higher rate than the aggregate and compared to the youngest cohort,” says Robert Stark, M.D., a consulting physician at Physician Wellness Services.

In general, primary care physicians feel a cultural fit more than specialists do; those at a physician-led organization feel a stronger fit, as do those working at a for-profit organization.

Cejka Search, a health care executive search firm, co-sponsored the survey with results available here.

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