American Sociological Association

Agency and Change in Healthcare Organizations: Workers’ Attempts to Navigate Multiple Logics in Hospice Care

There is no doubt that the organization of healthcare is currently shifting, partly in response to changing macrolevel policies. Studies of healthcare policies often do not consider healthcare workers’ experiences of policy change, thus limiting our understanding of when and how policies work. This article uses longitudinal qualitative data, including participant observation and semistructured interviews with workers within hospice care as their organizations shifted in response to a Medicare policy change. Prior to the policy change, I find that the main innovation of hospice—the interdisciplinary team—is able to resist logics from the larger medical institution. However, when organizational pressures increase, managers and workers adjust in ways that reinforce medical logics and undermine the interdisciplinary team. These practices illustrate processes by which rationalization of healthcare affects workers’ experiences and the type of care available to patients.

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Cindy L. Cain





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