Individualism and Collectivism: A Comparison Between Faculty Who Had and Had Not Participated in Interprofessional Education Faculty Development
Collaborative practice among interprofessional groups of health care providers is essential to the provision of safe and effective medical care. However, health professions training programs have not traditionally prepared students for interprofessional practice. One challenge in transforming health professions education programs has been a limited number of faculty prepared to teach students in an interprofessional learning environment. Thus, faculty development programs aimed at preparing faculty to provide interprofessional learning experiences across disciplines are increasingly important. Unfortunately, best practice in training faculty for interprofessional education programs is not well-defined.
Interprofessional education faculty development programs should aim to train faculty to model and teach interprofessional education competencies, including collaboration; however, a faculty member’s culture orientation may impact their collaborative skills. Of the four subscales of the Individualism-Collectivism Scale, horizontal collectivism is the subscale most aligned with collaborative team-based competencies. Few, if any, studies have examined culture orientation in academic health science faculty. The current quantitative, non-experimental survey study explored culture orientation in academic health science faculty across five colleges at East Tennessee State University. Comparisons were made on each of the four Individualism-Collectivism subscales between academic health science faculty who had attended and had not attended an interprofessional education faculty development program. Correlations between scores on each subscale and years of teaching in higher education were also examined.
Results indicated that the faculty members who had attended the interprofessional education faculty development program were significantly higher in horizontal collectivism (the subscale most aligned with team-based collaboration) than faculty who had not attended this program. Also, faculty who taught clinical courses were higher in vertical individualism than faculty who taught non-clinical courses. Implications for interprofessional practice, education, and faculty development are discussed, and recommendations for future research and practice are made.