Organization Supports for and Barriers to Part-Time Work Arrangements for Professionals

The Case of Radiology

Published in: Social Inequalities, Health and Health Care Delivery / Edited by Kronenfeld, Jennie (Kidlington, Oxford, Great Britain: Elsevier Science, LTD., 2002), v. 20, p. 159-182

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2002

by Chloe E. Bird, Martha E. Lang, Benjamin C. Amick III, Jocelyn D. Chertoff

Despite a substantial body of research on physician incomes and hours, there has been surprisingly little study of part-time work in the professions or on the organizational structures that support or inhibit part-time arrangements. To assess the factors associated with the presence and prevalence of part-time work in radiology practices, the authors conducted structured interviews with 69 practice administrators and 13 self-employed or retired radiologists. Patterns of part-time work are heavily gendered, men use it as a transition to retirement while women seek it early in their careers to balance work and family needs. As hypothesized, larger practices, academic practices, and those affiliated with larger organizations were significantly more likely to have part-time radiologists. Controlling for level of competition between practices, those that had recently experienced increased competition were less likely to have part-time radiologists. Neither difficulty recruiting radiologists to the practice, nor length of the average workweek for full-time radiologists were associated with having part-time radiologists in the practice. Practices that had a senior partner or administrator who supported the concept of part-time work were more likely to offer this option to physicians. They expected that radiology practices would have explicit policies regarding part-time work; however few of the practices had any formal policies on this career option. As a result, radiologists seeking part-time work early in their careers were at a distinct disadvantage in negotiations. Fear of the stigma and related career consequences may restrain male radiologists from seeking part-time work early in their careers. Despite acceptance in some practices and a growing presence of part-time radiologists in the specialty as a whole, there are significant and persistent barriers to part-time work arrangements other than as a transition to retirement.

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