A grounded exploration of the dimensions of managerial capability: A preliminary study of top Australian pharmacist owner-managers
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AbstractBackground: Australian community pharmacies are experiencing challenges, including government
prescription pricing reform and a dramatically increasing competitive environment. Enacting appropriate
responsive actions requires capable pharmacy managers. ‘Capability’ implies managing effectively in the
present, but with unknown or emerging contexts and with new problems. A conceptual understanding of
managerial capability as practiced by pharmacist owner-managers is unavailable in the literature.
Objectives: This research aimed to address the question: How can we understand managerial capability in
relation to effective community pharmacy management? The study’s objective was to develop preliminary
theoretical departure points for continuing research responding to the research question.
Methods: The objective was approached by exploring how 5 top Australian pharmacy owner-managers
accomplish the management of their businesses in a changing business environment. Qualitative
research methods were employed to develop a social process perspective of how the managers enact
their management practices. In-depth semi-structured life-world interviews were undertaken as the
major method of data collection. Interview text thematic analysis was carried out identifying rich
conceptual properties and dimensions, which ‘dimensionalized’ 3 key integrated categories.
Results: The findings show how the managers are immersed in their business, managerial and personal
practices in a holistic and relational manner. Managerial processes, reported through three conceptual
categories, their properties and dimensions, reveal the highly situational nature of the reality the managers
were experiencing, including their need to express their personal/professional identity. The properties and
dimensions of the category ‘learning generatively’ in particular, reveal how the pharmacy owner-managers
shape their business activities and their emerging context as time passes.
Conclusions: The preliminary interpretive view of managerial capability describes the phenomenon as an
emergent human accomplishment rather than a possessed ability. This social process perspective enables the
inclusion of context with time. The study acts as a formative departure point for continuing research of
pharmacist managerial capability which seeks to better understand the linkage between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’
Griffith Health, School of Pharmacy
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