The polity of academic medicine: Evidence-based democracy

Steven J. Willing, Richard B. Gunderman, Philip L. Cochran, Todd Saxton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The authors consider the empirical data examining relationships between democratic governance and organizational success. There is overwhelming evidence that democratically run organizations excel in key parameters of success, such as business valuation, productivity, responsiveness, innovation, decision making, and worker morale and satisfaction. A review of physician surveys shows that discontent with academic administration is a major contributor to faculty turnover. Other data indicate that the basic concepts justifying autocratic governance of a department are deeply flawed and that autocratic governance is counterproductive. The authors conclude that the democratic governance of academic departments is the only model that is scientifically valid and would greatly enhance all missions of academic medicine in the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-368
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Autocracy
  • Chair
  • Chairman
  • Democracy
  • Governance
  • Practice management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

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