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Unlocking medical leadership’s potential: a multilevel virtuous circle?


Background and aim Medical leadership (ML) has been introduced in many countries, promising to support healthcare services improvement and help further system reform through effective leadership behaviours. Despite some evidence of its success, such lofty promises remain unfulfilled.

Method Couched in extant international literature, this paper provides a conceptual framework to analyse ML’s potential in the context of healthcare’s complex, multifaceted setting.

Results We identify four interrelated levels of analysis, or domains, that influence ML’s potential to transform healthcare delivery. These are the healthcare ecosystem domain, the professional domain, the organisational domain and the individual doctor domain. We discuss the tensions between the various actors working in and across these domains and argue that greater multilevel and multistakeholder collaborative working in healthcare is necessary to reprofessionalise and transform healthcare ecosystems.

  • medical leadership
  • professionalism
  • learning organisation
  • effectiveness
  • health system

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