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Title: A critical account of the rise and spread of 'leadership': The case of UK healthcare
Authors: Martin, Graham P.
Learmonth, Mark
First Published: 15-Dec-2010
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Social Science and Medicine, 2012, 74 (3), pp. 281-288.
Abstract: This paper considers the rise of ‘leadership’ in discourses relating to the British health service, and the application of the term to increasingly heterogeneous actors. Analysing interviews with NHS chief executives from the late 1990s, and key policy documents published since, we highlight how leadership has become a term of choice among policymakers, with positive cultural valences which previously predominant terms such as ‘management’ now lack. We note in particular how leadership is increasingly conferred not only on those in positions of formal power but on frontline clinicians, patients and even the public, and how not just the implementation but the design of policy is now constructed as being led by these groups. Such constructions of the distribution of power in the health service, however, contradict the picture drawn by academic work. We suggest, therefore, that part of the purpose of leadership discourse is to align the subjectivities of health-service stakeholders with policy intentions, making their implementation not just everyone’s responsibility, but part of everyone’s sense of self. Given the realities of organizational life for many of the subjects of leadership discourse, however, the extent to which leadership retains its current positive associations and ubiquity remains to be seen.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.12.002
ISSN: 0277-9536
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Deposited with reference to the publisher's archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website. NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Social Science and Medicine. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Social Science and Medicine, 2012, 74 (3), pp. 281-288. DOI: 0.1016/j.socscimed.2010.12.002
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Health Sciences

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