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What benefits do healthcare organisations receive from leadership and management development programmes? A systematic review of the evidence
  1. Gabriel Seidman1,
  2. Laurie Pascal2,
  3. John McDonough2
  1. 1Global Health and Population, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Health Policy and Management, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gabriel Seidman, Global Health and Population, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA; gabriel.seidman{at}


Introduction Leadership and management training/development programmes have gained increasing institutional attention in healthcare organisations, and they have a wide variety of formats and approaches. However, limited evidence exists about effects of these programmes for the organisations that sponsor them. A minority of healthcare systems in the USA measure the impact of these programmes on organisational metrics such as staff turnover or cost savings. This systematic review sought to answer the question, ‘What evidence exists that leadership and/or management development and training programs yield benefits for health care organizations?’ These benefits could include return on investment, improved productivity/cohesion/teaming, or increased use of specific management skills (eg, strategic planning) that would directly benefit the organisation.

Methods We followed Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines to conduct a systematic review of the relevant literature. We conducted two searches in PubMed and one in ABI/Inform, a business literature database. All articles included for the study were further categorised according to their relevance for answering the research questions, using predefined criteria based on their methodology and reported findings.

Results Our search included 2462 studies, of which 55 met criteria for inclusion. We identified four potential organisation-level benefits to leadership and management training programmes: benefits to other staff (besides those who participate in the programmes), improved patient safety and satisfaction, tangible benefits from projects that were part of the programme and improved ability/confidence using leadership-related skills by programme participants. However, the research base on this topic is limited.

Conclusion Although this research identified potential benefits of leadership and management programmes at the organisation level, additional research is needed to make definitive conclusions about their impact.

  • clinical leadership
  • competencies
  • improvement
  • medical leadership
  • management

Statistics from


  • Contributors GS, LP and JM all conceived the research question and overall approach. GS designed the research protocol with two Harvard librarians. GS conducted a first review all articles in the database and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. GS, LP and JM all edited subsequent versions of the manuscript and recommended additional articles not originally included in the first database search.

  • Funding An original draft of this paper was commissioned by KPMG.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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