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Health care managers learning by listening to subordinates’ dialogue training

C. Grill (Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
G. Ahlborg Jr (Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, Institute of Stress Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
E. Wikström (Nordic School of Public Health and School of Business, Law and Economics, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Publication date: 10 June 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Middle managers in health care today are expected to continuously and efficiently decide and act in administration, finance, care quality, and work environment, and strategic communication has become paramount. Since dialogical communication is considered to promote a healthy work environment, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the ways in which health care managers experienced observing subordinates’ dialogue training.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews and documents from eight middle managers in a dialogue programme intervention conducted by dialogue trainers. Focus was on fostering and assisting workplace dialogue. Conventional qualitative content analysis was used.

Findings

Managers’ experiences were both enriching and demanding, and consisted of becoming aware of communication, meaning perceiving interaction between subordinates as well as own silent interaction with subordinates and trainer; Discovering communicative actions for leadership, by gaining self-knowledge and recognizing relational leadership models from trainers – such as acting democratically and pedagogically – and converting theory into practice, signifying practising dialogue-promoting conversation behaviour with subordinates, peers, and superiors.

Research limitations/implications

Only eight managers participated in the intervention, but data afforded a basis for further research.

Practical implications

Findings stressed the importance of listening, and of support from superiors, for well-functioning leadership communication at work.

Originality/value

Studies focusing on health care managers’ communication and dialogue are few. This study contributes to knowledge about these activities in managerial leadership.

Keywords

Citation

Grill, C., Ahlborg Jr, G. and Wikström, E. (2014), "Health care managers learning by listening to subordinates’ dialogue training", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 437-454. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-01-2013-0010

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited