Current theoretical thinking asserts that leadership should be distributed across many levels of healthcare organisations. Much medical education literature on leadership focusses on the training and competence of individuals. Little attention is paid to the interprofessional workplace and how its inherent complexities might contribute to the emergence of leadership. Underpinned by complexity theory, this research aimed to explore how interprofessional healthcare teams enact leadership in both hospital and general practice (GP) contexts.
This work-based study, utilising video-reflexive ethnography (VRE) occurred in two UK clinical sites: one GP practice and one hospital ward. Data analysis revealed a complex interprofessional environment where leadership is a dynamic process, negotiated and renegotiated in various ways throughout interaction. The reflexivity sessions revealed that leadership was seen by participants to be influenced in both facilitative and inhibitory ways, at the level of individuals, relationships, and wider systems. Being able to “see” themselves at work also gave participants the opportunity to discuss and analyse their everyday practices and make suggestions for improvements and change.
VRE allowed for engagement with leadership complexity, enabling the exploration of the whole workplace as a dynamic learning system. The results from this study reveal that leadership development cannot and should not be separated from context.
Lisi is currently a research fellow and tutor within CME Dundee.A qualified physiotherapist and health professions educator by background, Lisi completed her PhD in March 2015 entitled: “Conceptualising, narrating and enacting leadership in the interprofessional healthcare workplace: a study of complexity using qualitative methods”. As part of her PhD work, Lisi used video-reflexive ethnography to explore the enactment of leadership wihtin the healthcare workplace. Lisi has particular interest in leadership and management, interprofessional teamworking, complexity theory, workplace learning and workplace learning culture.