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

Wouter A. Keijser (Lead / Corresponding author), Graeme Martin

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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. This paper provides a conceptual framework to analyse ML’s potential in the context of healthcare’s complex, multi-faceted setting. 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 organizational domain; and individual doctor domain. We discuss the tensions between the various actors working in and across these domains and argue that greater multi-level and multi-stakeholder collaborative working in healthcare is necessary to reprofessionalize and transform healthcare ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-11
Number of pages6
JournalBMJ Leader
Issue number1
Early online date27 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020



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

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