Pharmacy World & Science

, 32:73 | Cite as

Describing the organisational culture of a selection of community pharmacies using a tool borrowed from social science

  • Shane ScahillEmail author
  • Jeff Harrison
  • Peter Carswell
Research Article


Objective of the study To describe the dimensions of organisational culture within a selection of community pharmacies. Setting Community pharmacy in the New Zealand primary care sector which is partially government funded and currently undergoing major reform. Community pharmacy is under pressure to take on new roles, integrate within the wider primary care team and deliver the expectations of contemporary health policy. Method The mixed methods approach of concept mapping was undertaken with 10 representatives from six community pharmacies selected as case sites. The process was split into three parts (a) face to face brainstorming to generate statements describing culture, followed by (b) statement reduction, piloting and approval of statement list by participants, followed by (c) sorting the statements into ‘like’ groups. Multidimensional scaling analysis of participant sorting allows the development of discrete clusters of statements that describe aspects of organizational culture. Results A set of 105 statements were generated at the brainstorming meeting. Eight clusters of organisational culture resulted from participant sorting: leadership and staff management; valuing each other and the team; free thinking, fun and open to challenge; trusted behaviour; customer relations; focus on external integration; providing systematic advice; embracing innovation. Conclusion Community pharmacy is under pressure to take on new roles and deliver and there is some evidence organisational culture of pharmacy may be a barrier. Our paper outlines the development of a survey instrument for describing organisational culture through Concept mapping, a tool borrowed from social sciences. This tool can be used for exploration of aspects of culture that may be important in the change management process for improving the effectiveness of community pharmacy as expected by contemporary primary health care policy.


Community pharmacy Concept mapping New Zealand Organisational culture Survey design 



The lead author is grateful for the mentorship and support of the following staff from the University of Auckland: Dr Amanda Wheeler, Dr Zaheer Ud-Din Babar, Dr Fiona Kelly, Associate Professor Janie Sheridan and Professors Ngaire Kerse and John Shaw. The authors would like to thank the representatives of the case study pharmacies who participated in our concept mapping project.


The lead author is the recipient of a University of Auckland Senior Health Research Scholarship. This study was partially supported by a grant from the Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand.

Conflicts of interest

The authors do not report any conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medical and Health SciencesThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Division of Health Systems, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health SciencesThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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