Effective organizational control: Implications for academic medicine

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7 Scopus citations


This article provides a framework for understanding the nature, role, functioning, design, and effects of organizational oversight systems. Using a case study with elements recognizable to an academic audience, the authors explore how a dean of a fictitious School of Medicine might use organizational control structures to develop effective solutions to global disarray within the academic medical center. Organizational control systems are intended to help influence the behavior of people as members of a formal organization. They are necessary to motivate people toward organizational goals, to coordinate diverse efforts, and to provide feedback about problems. The authors present a model of control to make this process more visible within organizations. They explore the overlap among academic medical centers and large businesses-for instance, each is a billion-dollar enterprise with complex internal and external demands and multiple audiences. The authors identify and describe how to use the key components of an organization's control system: environment, culture, structure, and core control system. Elements of the core control system are identified, described, and explored. These closely articulating elements include planning, operations, measurement, evaluation, and feedback systems. Use of control portfolios is explored to achieve goal-outcome congruence. Additionally, the authors describe how the components of the control system can be used synergistically by academic leadership to create organizational change, congruent with larger organizational goals. The enterprise of medicine is quickly learning from the enterprise of business. Achieving goal-action congruence will better position academic medicine to meet its multiple missions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1054-1063
Number of pages10
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Education


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