Lawton R. Burns Ph.D., M.B.A.

Director of the Wharton Center for Health Management and Economics
Chair of the Health Care Management Department
James Joo-Jin Kim Professor
University of Pennsylvania
Email: Discipline: Sociology, Health Care Management Expertise: Organization of Care, Physician Practice Arrangements

Investigator Award
Implementing and Sustaining Change in Health Care Organizations
Award Year: 1999 Conducting an interdisciplinary, broad-based examination of organizational change, the investigators place special emphasis on understanding why some organizations implement and sustain fundamental changes while others do not. A conceptual framework is developed to explain the causes and consequences of organizational restructuring, synthesizing a substantial body of recent research. Health managers and researchers who have implemented restructuring efforts are convened to provide insight into the environmental and organizational factors essential to fundamental and sustained change. Select organizations that have implemented restructuring efforts with demonstrable improvements in performance will be studied intensively. The project results in new models and thought about causes and consequences of organizational change in the health care industry. It also contributes to debate on the ability of organizational restructuring in the private sector to achieve public policy goals of improved health care delivery and efficiency.


Lawton R. Burns is the James Joo-Jin Kim Professor and Chair of the Health Care Management Department in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Director of the Wharton Center for Health Management & Economics. Dr. Burns teaches courses on healthcare strategy, strategic change, organization and management, managed care, and integrated delivery systems. From 1998-2002, he was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, where he taught corporate strategy to physicians. He received his doctorate in sociology and his MBA in health administration from the University of Chicago. Dr. Burns taught previously in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago and the College of Business Administration at the University of Arizona. Dr. Burns sits on the Governing Board of the Institute of Medicine (Health Services section) and on the editorial board of Health Services Research. He is a past member of the Grant Review Study Section for the Agency for Health Care Policy & Research. He is also a Life Fellow of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Burns has analyzed physician-organization integration over the past twenty years. In recognition of this research, Dr. Burns was named the Edwin L. Crosby Memorial Fellow by the Hospital Research and Educational Trust in 1992. Dr. Burns has also published several papers on the structure and performance of physician networks, the market forces that shape the growth of group practices and investor-owned networks, and the organizational options for physicians in a consolidating industry. In addition to this research, Dr. Burns has conducted extensive analyses of the Allegheny Health Education & Research Foundation (AHERF) bankruptcy, and is now completing a book on the bankruptcy and the Philadelphia hospital market. Most recently, he has completed a book on supply chain management in the healthcare industry: The Health Care Value Chain (Jossey-Bass, 2002). The study focuses on the strategic alliances and partnerships developing between pharmaceutical firms/distributors, disposable manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, group purchasing organizations, and organized delivery systems. He has also completed a companion volume on The Business of Healthcare Innovation (Cambridge University Press, 2005), which examines the market structure and trends in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and information system sectors of the global health care industry.