Yet surprisingly little is known about these cultures and how they influence physician behavior. There are several reasons for this disparity. First, while culture as a social construct has a rich heritage in anthropology and sociology, the concept of organizational cultures is less well articulated and the application to medical practices is just starting to take place. (5-7) Second, there is little information available regarding the relative influence of the various components of organizational cultures on performance. For example, while there are good theoretical arguments suggesting that cohesive practice cultures that place a high value on quality of care will have less variability in their care patterns and fewer patient care errors, the empirical data supporting those theories are thin. However, several recent studies focused on the cultures of medical practices and hospitals provide insights that help give form to this elusive concept.