Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

James Grimm, Stephen Groce, Fuad Baali

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This thesis examines how a more powerful and a less powerful profession --allopathic medicine and podiatry -- are linked in a series of networks through patient referrals and practice activities. The importance of professional networks is that they link different professions such as podiatry and allopathic medicine in ways which direct attention away from ranking the power of fields or viewing them as endlessly in conflict over occupational turf (traditional research questions) to questions of the actual and regularized relationships diverse professions have with one another. This thesis analyzes professional training and activity variables related to the emergence of networks and another set of conditions that results once occupational networks become established.

Data were obtained from a mailed questionnaire survey of podiatrists who practice in the Chicago metropolitan area (N-168). Analysis consists of comparisons between podiatrists who are in networks with physicians and those who are not: and between DPM's who are in heterophilous (general referral) versus homophilous (surgical) networks with MD's. T -tests are the major form of statistical analysis used in this thesis.

The findings of this thesis support the conclusion that the educational training and podiatric practice mandates (e.g., hospital staff appointment) are important determinants of the formation of networks with MD's. Friendship and social interaction patterns between DPM's and MD's and attitudes of DPM's toward podiatry were found to be highly related to network relationships between podiatrists and medical doctors. Profiles of podiatrists' professional activities and the extensiveness of their referral communication with MD's also were found to be related to the type of network podiatrists are in with medical doctors. Overall, results of this thesis clearly show that networks do link podiatrists and physicians and that such networks have important consequences for the professional activities and orientations of DPM's.


Community-Based Research | Medicine and Health | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations