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Exploring leadership styles in government hospitals in Kuwait

Talal ALFadhalah (Department of Quality and Accreditation, Ministry of Health, Kuwait)
Hossam Elamir (Department of Quality and Accreditation, Ministry of Health, Kuwait)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 21 June 2019

Issue publication date: 12 July 2019




This paper aims to determine and assess leadership styles in six government general hospitals.


This is a cross-sectional study that uses a self-administered questionnaire to determine the leadership styles by self or followers’ rating. The participants were 66 leaders and 1,626 followers. The data were analyzed using suitable statistical methods.


The prevailing leadership style of hospitals’ leaders is the transformational style, where self-rating as transformational is higher than followers’ rating. The demographic characteristics of leaders are statistically insignificant.

Research limitations/implications

Other health-care settings were not included in the study. In addition, the study is designed to determine the relationship between variables, not to identify cause and effect. However, effective leadership has a substantial value and impact in health care. The paper confirms the existence of a transformational style effect on all organizational outcomes and represents a baseline for future studies in determining leadership styles and organizational culture types to highlight improvement areas.

Practical implications

The paper recommends designing training programs to improve transformational leadership behavior. Moreover, investment in research is needed to understand how to build transformational leaders. In addition, leaders' recruitment must be conditioned by obtaining a leadership certification.


This topic is under-researched in Kuwait health-care system. The use of leadership style as an indicator for a health-care organization's performance is still not well known in Kuwait.



The authors would like to acknowledge Kuwait Ministry of Health (MOH) for funding the research and covering the costs of transportation, purchasing the questionnaires from the publisher, writing and printing the data collection tools, and statistical analysis of data. The authors would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Jumana Al-Amir in proofreading this paper.


ALFadhalah, T. and Elamir, H. (2019), "Exploring leadership styles in government hospitals in Kuwait", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 458-476.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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