Healthcare Management

By Kieran Walshe; Judith Smith | Go to book overview

19 Leadership and its development
in healthcare
Edward Peck
Introduction
This chapter explores four themes around leadership:
the main theories of leadership that have emerged over the last 50 years, drawing out the ongoing influence of each
the ways in which these theories are reflected in specific policy documents on leadership in UK healthcare
the components of one typical model for leadership development
the evidence – such as it is – of the impact of leadership development in healthcare, both on individuals and on the system.

The chapter finishes with a summary of the key points. Before embarking on these more detailed discussions, however, I want to set the context by making four broader points about leadership.

First, the current interest in leadership in UK healthcare is relatively recent. Up until the late 1990s the word 'leadership' appeared infrequently in policy pronouncements in healthcare. In contrast, the concept now occupies a prominent position in most major documents issued, for example, by the English Department of Health. In this respect, the UK NHS is merely following a broader trend in the public sector, both nationally and internationally. Storey (2004a) charts the explosion in papers, programmes and projects dedicated to leadership in public services over the preceding ten years. Both Storey and myself (Davidson and Peck 2005) have mapped out the reasons why leadership has risen to such prominence. However, the very variety of challenges discussed in this book suggest why some form of organisational alchemy has been seen to be necessary (and leadership is often discussed in such florid language – see Rooke and Torbert 2005 for a discussion of leaders as alchemists). Nevertheless, fashions in management theory – and thus practice – ebb and flow (Abrahamson 1991, 1996) and the current focus on leadership may yet prove ephemeral. Already much of the discussion is turning to followership (for example, Daft 1999), and even nonfollowership (for instance, Prince 1998), and the connected notion of

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