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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 92, Issue 5, pp 387–391 | Cite as

Organizational and Professional Characteristics Predicting External Communications in Canadian Public Health Units

  • Lucie Richard
  • Natalie Kishchuk
  • Louise Potvin
  • Jean-Louis Denis
Article
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

This study is a survey of administrative divisions involved in tobacco programs in Canadian public health units. It aims to identify correlates of public health units’ contacts and collaborations with external agencies, as predisposing factors in their capacity to innovate. Heads of 124 divisions involved in tobacco control completed a questionnaire about their budgets, staff, and management practices. In each of these divisions, professionals involved in tobacco programs also completed a questionnaire about their characteristics and experience. Results showed a high level of contacts and collaborations with external agencies. Four variables emerged as correlates of external communications: professionals’ degree of access to public health information sources, the diversity of disciplines within the administrative division, the decentralization of authority, and the level of professionals’ participation in decision-making. Because of the potential relationship between innovation and external communication, public health units should consider fostering external communication by management practices and policies, such as favouring professional diversity, increasing access to sources of information, and adopting more decentralized, participatory management.

Résumé

Cet article rapporte les résultats d’une enquête effectuée auprès des organisations de santé publique canadiennes, plus précisément auprès de leurs unités administratives œuvrant à la réduction du tabagisme (n = 124). Son objectif est de cerner les facteurs associés au maintien de contacts et de liens de collaboration entre ces unités et les organisations externes et, partant, à leur capacité d’innover. Deux types de questionnaires ont été acheminés dans chaque unité. Un premier questionnaire s’adressait au cadre responsable et portait sur diverses caractéristiques organisationnelles de l’unité (budget, personnel, pratiques de gestion, etc.). Le second visait les professionnels des programmes de lutte antitabac afin de documenter leur caractéristiques et leur expérience. Les résultats révèlent un niveau élevé de contacts et de collaboration avec les organisations externes. Les facteurs associés à ce phénomène sont les suivants: degré d’accès des professionnels aux sources d’information en santé publique, diversité des disciplines professionnelles représentées au sein de l’unité, décentralisation des pouvoirs et participation des professionnels à la prise de décision. De ces résultats se dégagent des pistes d’action utiles pour stimuler les communications externes et créer des conditions potentiellement propices à l’innovation dans les organisations de santé publique.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucie Richard
    • 1
    • 2
  • Natalie Kishchuk
    • 3
    • 4
  • Louise Potvin
    • 2
    • 4
  • Jean-Louis Denis
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of NursingUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.GRISUniversité de MontréalCanada
  3. 3.Évaluation de programmes et recherche sociale appliquéeKirklandCanada
  4. 4.Department of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversité de MontréalCanada
  5. 5.Department of Health AdministrationUniversité de MontréalCanada

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