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Leader identity


The health sector is undergoing profound changes that will continue to affect the organizational and managerial framework and managers’ framework. There is growing recognition that the nature and quality of leadership in the health sector affect the quality and goal attainment.

In terms of leadership in the public sector, the recent report from the Danish Commission on Leadership and Management recommends an equal balance between the managers’ professional and managerial identities. Analyses show that managers with a dominant professional identity are less active in all important forms of leadership (visionary leadership, contingent verbal rewards, distributed leadership and professional management) than managers with a stronger leader identity.

A questionnaire completed by a representative segment of all Danish public managers who focus on, e.g., managing conditions and manager behavior indicated that clinical directors have a weaker leader identity than other public managers. Earlier studies have also shown that clinical directors prioritize their professional identity. Not only are there barriers to recruiting doctors to the position as clinical director; the barriers seem to have increased over time.

Objective and research method

Clinical directors play a central managerial role in the health sector, but our knowledge about doctors’ managerial roles and their understanding of the identity as manager is deficient.

The project will therefore examine the following questions:

  • What characterizes clinical directors and their career path?
  • How do clinical directors understand their role and identity as manager?
  • How do clinical directors see their conditions for managing, and how do they see their own behavior as manager?

The project is a first in a long series of projects with focus on doctors’ roles as managers and their understanding of managing, which can contribute to developing a cohesive understanding of leadership development and leadership competences for doctors. This understanding can form the basis for the development of leadership programs, competence descriptions, leadership training and coaching concerning career paths in the future.

Additional information
The project is headed by Professor Mickael Bech and is supported by Senior Advisors Lars Dahl Pedersen and Assistant Professor Mathilde Cecchini.