Management Reasoning: Empirical Determination of Key Features and a Conceptual Model

David A. Cook*, Christopher R. Stephenson, Larry D. Gruppen, Steven J. Durning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Management reasoning is a critical yet understudied phenomenon in clinical practice and medical education. The authors sought to empirically identify key features of management reasoning and construct a model describing the management reasoning process. Method: In November 2020, 4 investigators each reviewed 10 video clips of simulated outpatient physician-patient encounters and used a coding form to document key features and insights related to management reasoning. The team used a constant comparative approach to distill 120 pages of raw observations into an 18-page list of management tasks, processes, and insights. The team then had a series of discussions to iteratively refine these findings into a parsimonious model of management reasoning. Results: The investigators empirically identified 12 distinct features of management reasoning: contrasting and selection among multiple solutions; prioritization of patient, clinician, and system preferences and constraints; communication and shared decision making; ongoing monitoring and adjustment of the management plan; dynamic interplay among people, systems, and competing priorities; illness-specific knowledge; process knowledge; management scripts; clinician roles as patient teacher and salesperson; clinician-patient relationship; prognostication; and organization of the clinical encounter (sequencing and time management). Management scripts seemed to play a prominent and critical role. The model of management reasoning comprised 4 steps: instantiation of a management script, identifying (multiple) options and beginning to teach the patient, shared decision making, and ongoing monitoring and adjustment. This model also conceives 2 overarching features: that management reasoning is personalized to the patient and that it occurs between individuals rather than exclusively within the clinician's mind. Conclusions: Management scripts constitute a key feature of management reasoning, along with teaching patients about viable options, shared decision making, ongoing monitoring and adjustment, and personalization. Management reasoning seems to be constructed and negotiated between individuals rather than exclusively within the clinician.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-87
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Management Reasoning: Empirical Determination of Key Features and a Conceptual Model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this