Leadership, Clinician Managers and a Thing Called "Hybridity"
Abstract Purpose - In many countries leadership theories and leadership development programs in healthcare have been dominated by individualistic and heroic approaches that focus on developing the skills and competencies of health professionals. Alternative approaches have been proffered but mainly in the form of post-heroic and distributed forms of leadership. The notion of "hybridity" has emerged to challenge the assumptions of distributed leadership. The paper seeks to explore how the concept of hybridity can be used to re-theorize leadership in healthcare as it relates to clinician managers (or hybrid-professional managers). Design/methodology/approach - The theoretical developments are explored and empirical material is presented from research in Australian public hospitals to support the case for the existence of hybridized forms of leadership in healthcare. The paper discusses whether hybridity needs re-theorizing to adequately account for clinician leadership. It contributes to debates surrounding the role of clinician leadership in healthcare reform particularly in relation to those doctors who occupy management positions at the division or unit levels as distinct to CEOs. The study uses qualitative research, i.e. interactive interviews to present accounts of how healthcare professionals describe leadership. It undertakes both deductive and inductive theme analysis of the interview material. Findings - There is support for hybridized configurations of leadership in interview materials of healthcare professionals but other aspects were also noted that cannot be explained by this approach alone. Originality/value - The paper is the first to examine the concept of hybridity in the context of clinician leadership. Many approaches to leadership in healthcare fail to address the complexity of leadership within the ranks of clinician managers and thus are unable to deal adequately with the role of leadership in healthcare reform and change. Keywords Clinician manager, Leadership, Hybridity, Healthcare reform, Australia, Hospitals, Health services Paper type Conceptual paper
Journal of Health Organization and Management
Health Care Administration