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Collective leadership for cultures of high quality health care

Michael A. West (Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK and The King's Fund, London, UK)
Joanne Lyubovnikova (Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Regina Eckert (Center for Creative Leadership, Brussels, Belgium)
Jean-Louis Denis (École nationale d’administration publique, Montreal, Québec, Canada and Kedge Business School, Marseille-Bordeaux, France)

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance

ISSN: 2051-6614

Article publication date: 2 September 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine the challenges that health care organizations face in nurturing and sustaining cultures that ensure the delivery of continually improving, high quality and compassionate care for patients and other service users.


Based on an extensive review of the literature, the authors examine the current and very challenging context of health care and highlight the core cultural elements needed to enable health care organizations to respond effectively to the challenges identified.


The role of leadership is found to be critical for nurturing high-quality care cultures. In particular, the authors focus on the construct of collective leadership and examine how this type of leadership style ensures that all staff take responsibility for ensuring high-quality care for patients.

Practical implications

Climates for quality and safety can be accomplished by the development of strategies that ensure leaders, leadership skills and leadership cultures are appropriate to meet the challenges health care organizations face in delivering continually improving, high quality, safe and compassionate patient care.


This paper provides a comprehensive integration of research findings on how to foster quality and safety climates in healthcare organizations, synthesizing insights from academic literature, practitioner reports and policy documents to propose clear, timely and much needed practical guidelines for healthcare organizations both nationally and internationally.



A. West, M., Lyubovnikova, J., Eckert, R. and Denis, J.-L. (2014), "Collective leadership for cultures of high quality health care", Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 240-260.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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