Dissecting a department of surgery: Exploring organizational culture and competency expectations

Paula Costa, Linda Harris, David H. Rothstein, Melissa Beckman, William Flynn, Aaron Hoffman, James Lukan, Aimee Gardner, Katelyn Cavanaugh, Brian Dunkin, Steven D. Schwaitzberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: In order to recruit high-potential trainees, surgery residency and fellowship programs must first understand what competencies and attributes are required for success in their respective programs. This study performed a systematic analysis to define organizational culture and competency expectations across training programs within one academic surgery department. Methods: Subject matter experts rated the importance and frequency of 22 competencies and completed a 44-item organizational culture inventory along 1 to 5 Likert-type scales. Results: Importance and frequency attributions of competencies varied significantly among programs (p < .05 by ANOVA), but there was substantial agreement on organizational culture; self-directed (x̄ = 3.8), perfectionist (x̄ = 3.7) and social (x̄ = 3.7) attributes were most representative of the program, while oppositional (x̄ = 1.8), competitive (x̄ = 2.5) and hierarchical (x̄ = 2.7) characteristics were least representative. Conclusions: Residency and fellowship programs within the same department have shared perceptions of the culture and values of their institution, but seek different competencies among entering trainees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-302
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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