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Elements of management and leadership strengthening in health systems: a qualitative study from Iran

Rona Bahreini (Student Research Committee, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran) (Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Management and Medical Informatics, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran)
Masumeh Gholizadeh (Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Management and Medical Informatics, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran)
Mahmood Yousefi (Department of Health Economics, School of Management and Medical Informatics, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran)
Ali Janati (Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Management and Medical Informatics, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 29 December 2022

Issue publication date: 26 January 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The importance of management capacity in the health sector has been increasingly recognized. The World Health Organization (WHO) (2008) has claimed that limited “management capacity” in low-income countries is one of the main obstacles toward achieving health-related goals. The aim of this study is to answer the research question: “What are the elements of management and leadership capacity of senior managers from the perspective of senior managers.”

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 20 senior health managers. Sampling method was purposive. Data were collected using a researcher-made interview guide. The transcribed text was analyzed using framework analysis.

Findings

Five main themes emerged from the analysis are: (1) competencies required for managers; (2) selection and appointment of managers; (3) establishment of managers' database; (4) deployment of functional support system; and (5) environmental sensitivity. Each of these themes contains sub-themes.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the interviews were conducted virtually. This may have had an impact on obtaining wealthy data because in a face-to-face interview, it is possible to question and answer, get additional explanations and understand the interviewee's mentality.

Practical implications

Extracting elements of management and leadership capacity helps managers to assess management capacity and leadership comprehensively and effectively. In addition, effective and useful operations can be done to strengthen the management and leadership capacity.

Originality/value

This is the first study that has identified the main elements of management and leadership capacity from the perspective of senior health managers in Iran. This article provides the components of the health system management and leadership capacity that can be used at top management level.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This is a report of database from PhD thesis registered in Tabriz University of Medical Sciences with the Number IR.TBZMED.REC.1399.636. The authors gratefully acknowledge the participants in this study.

Funding: This study is part of joint project between the National Public Health Management Center (NPMC) and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Office that will be funded by NPMC “Mapping/Assessing the Leadership and Management Capacity in Health Systems for the Eastern Mediterranean Countries”.

Citation

Bahreini, R., Gholizadeh, M., Yousefi, M. and Janati, A. (2023), "Elements of management and leadership strengthening in health systems: a qualitative study from Iran", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-12-2021-0338

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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