Falling between the cracks: Developing and sustaining responsibility in a professional organization

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 16:00to18:00
Bronfman Building, CA


   Falling between the cracks: Developing and sustaining responsibility in a professional organization

Graeme Currie

Professor of Public Management

Warwick Business School

Wednesday September 23rd, 2015 - 4:00 – 6:00 PM

Bronfman Bldg., Rm. 360


The analytical focus of the study is upon a complex problem addressed by a multi-professional organization. The empirical starting point is the death of a teenage girl, suffering from chronic anorexia, in the intensive care department of an acute hospital. ‘Eloise’ had been subject to various clinical and therapeutic interventions from a range of health professionals over six years, during which her condition deteriorated, eventually leading to her premature death in the intensive care unit of a hospital. To quote one of the senior doctors involved in her care during this time: “At the level of the organization, which has many professionals, and indeed has many disparate organizations within the bigger organization, each of us did what we were required to do, our own thing, me the nutritional intervention, but without a collective sense of what we were doing and how what we each did was related to others’ efforts”. Reinforcing such an assertion, and reflected in the title of this paper, a senior organizational manager within the empirical case stated: “Eloise ‘fell between the cracks’ of professionals and organizations”.

Foreshadowing theoretical analysis, managerial practices are highlighted across successive temporal episodes in the aftermath of Eloise’s death, designed to: rally the multi-professional organization; develop the professional response towards responsibility; sustain the professional response towards responsibility. Dimensions of managerial practice encompass: affective management of professional sentiment of care; balancing influence with accountability; incorporation of responsibility. Considering these management practices theoretically, analysis provides insight about control of professionals towards responsibility for complex problems that cross organizational and jurisdictional boundaries.

PLEASE RSVP BY SEPTEMBER 21st (kristen.oliver [at] mcgill.ca)

Back to top