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L(H) ≠ Σ(m1, m2 … mn)

Jeffrey Braithwaite (Centre for Clinical Governance Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 8 February 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine the case that health service leadership is more than the sum total of all the health service management activity observed; and to advocate for improved leadership in health services through an examination of top‐down management structures and processes which “crowd out” leadership behaviours.


Application of historical and contemporary contexts to health service management and health service leadership approaches.


The neglect of leadership is discussed and the case is put for a tightly‐crafted position on how leadership should be emphasised and raised to greater prominence. Formulae for conceptualising leadership are presented in order to show the constituent elements underpinning clear descriptions of leadership.

Research limitations/implications

Further research on leadership, and more targeted education for leaders, is needed.

Practical implications

One way to build leadership capacity is to create a sustainable partnership between health service academics and leaders in the field.


Developing formulae for framing leadership is not reductionist per se but specifies with precision the essential elements needed to express health services leadership success.



Braithwaite, J. (2008), "L(H) ≠ Σ(m1, m2 … mn)", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 8-15.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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