Doc satisfaction moved by age, gender

A demographic variable analysis released by Physician Wellness Services on March 25 dives into the previously examined 14 cultural attributes of the physician’s trade, finding overall that a doctor’s age, gender, primary or specialty provider role and his/her organization’s structure and leadership are most in sync with the professional ideal.

The initial phase of the investigation, conducted in October 2012, observed how physicians were influenced satisfaction-wise and perception-wise under the 14 attribute umbrellas. The latest data released explores divergence in the physician population subgroups when contrasted with the aggregate on the grounds of ranking and value-specific attributes.

“The new study findings are a signal that depending on the type of organization and the composition of its physician population, not all cultural attributes may be as valued — both for the organization as a whole and between the different physician demographic groups within it,” said Mitchell Best, COO for Physician Wellness Services, in a news release. “The findings underscore the importance of clearly defining what each attribute means to an organization and its physicians, with a high degree of specificity and in a manner that ties to measurability wherever possible.  This will ensure a clear understanding by all parties and help with operationalizing cultural attributes.”

Five questions were posed to researchers investigating the survey pool (comprised of 2,200 physicians) to garner information about whether gender, age (cohort under 40, 40-59, 60 and over), primary care vs. specialists, physician-led organizations vs. non-physician led, and for-profit vs. nonprofit organizations promoted a difference in satisfaction or perception.   

“The study results indicate that a one-size-fits-all approach to organizational culture may not work in healthcare organizations, especially for larger, multi-specialty, multi-location groups or systems where understanding the underlying dynamics of a more disparate, dispersed physician population can be valuable,” added David Cornett, senior vice president at Cejka Search, the study co-sponsor, in a prepared statement. “At a time of increasing acquisitions and mergers of physician practices and health systems, acknowledgement of organizational culture and examination of key differences between groups can create greater understanding and, if addressed effectively, smooth and facilitate integration efforts.” 

Key findings of the analysis were listed by Physician Wellness Services as follows:


  • Notable gender differences were apparent in how respondents ranked the cultural attributes. Female respondents ranked respectful communication and a team-focused environment higher than male respondents and the male respondents ranked an innovative approach to care much higher than female respondents. 
  • Females were less likely to feel a strong cultural fit with their organization than males.


  • The youngest cohort (under 40) ranked a team-focused environment, respectful communication and a supportive managerial approach to errors and mistakes as more important attributes than their older peer groups. Cultural fit is important to this cohort and they are using it to a high degree to evaluate career opportunities.
  • The middle age group cohort (40-59) is the least likely to feel they fit within their organization, despite scoring that shows they especially value cultural fit and they are the cohort most likely to act on the basis of cultural fit when evaluating career opportunities.
  • The oldest cohort (60-plus) valued a collaborative leadership style to the point where it moved to second in their attribute rankings, compared to fifth for the youngest cohort.  They were also the least likely to say that cultural fit has been a factor in accepting a practice or job opportunity and also somewhat less likely to score that lack of cultural fit has prompted them to leave a practice or job. 

Primary Care vs. Specialists

  • In general, primary care physicians were more likely to feel a cultural fit with their organization and scored in the high range on the question of importance of cultural fit to their job satisfaction compared to specialists. 
  • Primary care physicians were more likely to say cultural fit was a determining factor in accepting a job or practice opportunity and that lack of it has prompted them to leave a practice or job. 

Physician-Led vs. Non-Physician Led

  • Physician respondents working for a physician-led organization felt a stronger cultural fit than those working for non-physician led organizations.
  • Physician-led organization respondents were more likely to say that expectations of cultural fit had been a determining factor in accepting a practice or job opportunity, but less likely to say that lack of cultural fit had prompted them to leave a practice or job. 

  For-Profit vs. Nonprofit 

  • The results indicate that, across the board, working at a for-profit organization correlates more highly with experiencing a better cultural fit, valuing it more highly and using it more as a criterion for evaluating potential and past career choices.

Find more information about the study here.