Applying Management Principles to Academic Leadership

Medical schools, with their escalating clinical and research programs, function a lot like major corporations but they must do so in an academic environment. Unlike corporations, universities have a structured hierarchy and volumes of regulations to compensate for a lack of discipline among the faculty or, in rare cases, incompetence. Academic freedom is a virtue, but it is by definition antithetical to the corporate discipline necessary to focus attention and resources on selected components of the mission. Instead, faculty members are free to pursue any interest, and medical schools often promote mediocrity by spreading resources equitably across numerous programs. Lack of discipline is prevalent in all sectors of a university as demonstrated by lack of research focus, failure to meet grant deadlines, being late to clinic, and not communicating with referring physicians.

It is possible for academic institutions to correct these problems, but it requires knowledge of business principles and a culture of discipline. To balance the corporate nature of medical schools with the academic missions and to improve system efficiency and effectiveness, administrators have begun to apply business principles to medical school operations.

The principles outlined as success factors for companies are basic premises that can improve the operations of a medical school if they are incorporated into its culture. The pearls in this chapter are case studies that demonstrate how business principles can be used in an academic setting.


Faculty Member Academic Freedom Personality Profile Academic Leadership Succession Planning 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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