The polity of academic medicine: Status of faculty governance

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


How should academic medical departments be governed? Models of governance span a wide spectrum between autocracies, in which important decisions are made by a single individual, to democracies, in which each member enjoys a voice in decision making. Despite the fact that more participatory governance models are the norm in practice settings outside of academia, many academic physicians seem to take an autocratic model more or less for granted. In fact, however, most medical schools and universities do not mandate a governance system that vests authority in a powerful chairperson, and departments frequently enjoy more latitude than they suppose in determining how to govern themselves. Because an organization's effectiveness is powerfully influenced by its governance structure, academic physicians should give serious consideration to this subject, to ensure that academic medicine is well prepared to meet the many challenges now before it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-684
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Academic medicine
  • Autocracy
  • Chairman
  • Chairperson
  • Democracy
  • Governance
  • Polity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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