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Reactivity and reactions to regulatory transparency in medicine, psychotherapy and counselling

Prof. Gerry McGivern, Warwick Business School
Date: 19 November 2013
Time: 1:00pm – 2.30pm,
Venue: KSW.3.01


We explore how doctors, psychotherapists and counsellors in the UK react to regulatory transparency, drawing on qualitative research involving 51 semi-structured interviews conducted during 2008e10. We use the concept of ‘reactivity mechanisms’ (Espeland & Sauder, 2007) to explain how regulatory transparency disrupts practices through simplifying and decontextualizing them, altering practitioners’ reflexivity, leading to defensive forms of practice. We make an empirical contribution by exploring the impact of transparency on doctors compared with psychotherapists and counsellors, who represent an extreme case due to their uniquely complex practice, which is particularly affected by this form of regulation. We make a contribution to knowledge by developing a model of reactivity mechanisms, which explains how clinical professionals make sense of media and professional narratives about regulation in ways that produce emotional reactions and, in turn, defensive reactivity to transparency.

About the speaker

Gerry McGivern is Professor of Organisational Analysis at Warwick Business School. His research has examined the introduction of appraisal and revalidation for NHS consultants, health care managers' use of knowledge and evidence , networks in health care (from which he published 'Making Wicked Problems Governable: The Case of Managed Networks in Health Care', Oxford University Press, 2013), and the effects of transparent regulation in medicine, psychotherapy and counselling on professional practice.  Gerry will discuss this last study and a paper he published from it in Social Science and Medicine.