The Impact of Professional and Team Identification on the Leadership Beliefs of Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) Clinicians
Introduction and Aims - The term ‘clinical leadership’ has received widespread promotion in the NHS in recent years and encourages frontline clinicians to be involved in the leadership of services. Few research studies have explored the leadership beliefs of mental health clinicians. The current thesis aims to address this issue by examining the leadership beliefs of mental health clinicians working in MDTs. Applying prominent group identity theories, the association between the strength of professional / team identification and clinicians’ leadership beliefs were examined. Researchers predicted that differences would emerge between professions in their beliefs about shared and distributed leadership. Methodology - Two hundred and twenty nine healthcare clinicians working in MDTs across the East of England completed an online survey. Results - No statistically significant differences emerged between professional groups in their beliefs about distributed or shared leadership. A significant positive association emerged between the strength of participants’ professional identification and their agreement with shared leadership. This association did not reach the level of statistical significance when analyses were completed separately for each profession. However, the same trend emerged for all professional groups; participants who expressed the strongest level of professional identification reported the greatest agreement with shared leadership. The same association was demonstrated for team identification and participants’ shared leadership beliefs. In line with the researchers’ predictions, the level of threat participants experienced to their professional identities mediated the positive association between professional identification and team identification. Conclusions - These findings highlight the potential important link between group identification and healthcare professionals’ leadership beliefs. This link has been demonstrated in business and academic settings, but requires further investigation in health settings. Implications for clinical practice are discussed, focussing on interventions that promote strong professional and team identifications in healthcare. Limitations of the study are presented, in addition to future areas of research.
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