Leading clinicians

Introduction and module objectives

This module complements other leadership modules in the MBA by addressing clinical leadership specifically – i.e. the leadership of clinicians by clinicians. In most cases clinical leaders are hybrids, maintaining senior roles in both clinical practice and management. The context for clinical leadership needs to take account of professional roles, relationships, and regulation, and the processes of leadership are often understood to be different than ‘general’ leadership, because of the autonomous nature of clinical practice (which varies between professions), the collegial nature of professions, but also the strong hierarchical relationships within training programmes. The role of clinical professionals in management teams will also be considered, where professionals often have detailed knowledge of and accountability for care processes that others may lack, although often without formal authority within the organisational setting. The literature relevant to this module is spread around a number of disciplines, including management, health services research, organisational studies, and sociology, and the implications of this for developing a clinical leadership evidence-base will be explored.

The objective of the module is to provide a specific analysis of leadership in clinical contexts, to complement the more general discussion of leadership and change elsewhere in the programme.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module students should be able to:

  • Evaluate the contexts of clinical professions with healthcare organisations
  • Explore professional issues relevant to leading clinicians, including professional regulation and performance assessment.
  • Critically assess the application of leadership approaches to specific clinical and team contexts.
  • Synthesise research from various disciples into the understanding of clinical leadership


Leadership is a relational process, and this module will consider how knowledge of the specific contexts of clinicians will support the development of effective relationships for leadership. As in other clinical leadership modules, a comparative perspective will be offered, drawing on the experiences of participants.

The three clinical leadership modules will develop links between the specific content areas to provide a coherent specialist programme to complement the general MBA modules.