Mervyn Conroy

Mervyn Conroy

Health Services Management Centre
Honorary Senior Research Fellow

Contact details

School of Social Policy (HSMC)
Park House
University of Birmingham
B15 2RT

Merv has worked in the leadership, ethics and healthcare related fields as a practitioner, manager and academic for the past 20 years. His NHS senior management experience included a systems wide research and improvement programme to address the ethical aspects of leading change to services.

Prior to this he was an executive within a global aerospace organisation, heading up a multidisciplinary team responsible for safety critical system improvements and related university research project management and knowledge/ technology transfer. The aerospace role led to an interest in the psychology, sociology and philosophy of organisational change and doctorate studies.

He joined HSMC in 2009 with responsibilities for leadership and ethics research, teaching, consultancy and evaluation. In January 2015 he was awarded a three year Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research grant, Phronesis and the Medical Community, and in June 2018 was awarded another AHRC Impact and Engagement award as a follow on project. His recent teaching, tutoring and module design/ co-direction responsibilities include the online, virtual campus based NHS Leadership Academy Elizabeth Garret Anderson Healthcare Leadership MSc and HSMC’s Leadership for Health Services Improvement MSc. He has also acted as the principal consultant on a range of healthcare leadership development and service redesign projects.  He supervises PhD and MSc students. 


  • Leadership, ethics and organisational change
  • Applied virtue ethics and phronesis (practical wisdom)   
  • Action research, narrative and ethnographic methodologies
  • Films and apps to convey research findings


  • PhD Management Learning and Leadership, Lancaster University 2007 
  • PG Diploma in Counselling, University of Central Lancashire 1999
  • PG Cert in Management, Lancaster University 1995
  • Fellow of the Institute of Consulting (part of the CMI)


Merv has over 25 years combined experience of management (public and private), knowledge transfer, academic research, UG and PG teaching, CPD/Executive Education and consulting/evaluation/engagement.

Prior to setting up his own research/consulting business in 1999 he was an executive within a global aerospace organisation, heading up a directorate function responsible for managing knowledge transfer from university research centres to support operational efficiency improvements.

His NHS registered employment in mental health services ran from 2001 to 2015 with later years on the bank when he had taken on other posts. He still consults across private and public sectors and has acted as the principal consultant on a number of high profile public sector service transformation and executive education projects. Included in his time at UoB was a fixed term secondment to University of Cumbria (UoC).

Whilst at UoC he was co-designer of a blended learning Health Leadership MBA, taught on the Leadership and Sustainability MBA and was convener of a range of PG health and social care management modules. His recent research track record includes securing grants as PI (3) and Co-I (3) from the AHRC (5) and ESRC (1). All on collaborative research projects with partners including from home faculties, external HEIs and healthcare commissioners and providers. Publications and international conference paper presentations on health leadership and ethics, sustainability of service improvements and workforce development evaluation have been a consistent feature from 2001 onwards.


  • 2019-present: MDS Decision Making and Intercalated Leadership Modules. Ethical decision making for medical doctors using a non-prescriptive moral debating resource from the PMC research.
  • 2014 – present: NHS LA Elizabeth Garret Anderson Healthcare Leadership blended learning MSc: materials designer and Cohort Tutor
  • Leadership for Health Services Improvement MSc


  • North West Deanery Medical Leadership in Practice for consultants and GPs in training
  • Ethical Leadership and Purpose and Introduction to Leadership modules for a blended learning Leadership and Sustainability MBA
  • Health Leadership – Cert, Dip, MA/MBA programme 
  • Vision and Strategy - Cert, Dip, MA modules
  • Influencing and Collaboration - Cert, Dip, MA modules
  • Partnerships - Cert, Dip, MA modules
  • Professional Relationships - Cert, Dip, MA modules 
  • Managing Change and Performance - Cert, Dip, MA modules 

Postgraduate supervision

Mervyn currently supervises a number of students on the Leadership for Health Services Improvement MSc open programme and NHS LA Elizabeth Garret Anderson Healthcare Leadership  MSc  

His PhD Supervision includes the following working titles: 

  • Phronesis and the Defence Medical Services’ nursing community
  • Realising leadership potential within the business and administration workforce in NHS Scotland
  • An autoethnography of leading the introduction of assets approaches in the NHS
  • An investigation of the impact of the supervisory ward manager role in the English National Health Service



2018-present: AHRC - PI role on Phronesis and the Medical Community: Impact and Engagement Follow Up to pilot and evaluate the impact of the research resources

Recently completed

2015-18: AHRC PI role on Phronesis and the Medical Community: researching practical wisdom and ethical decision making in medical leadership

2015 -18: ESRC Co-I role on Leadership and Ethics seminar series research project including seminar co-ordination and book publication.

2012 -13: AHRC Co-I role on ‘Street Drinking, New Media and Public Engagement’ Use of new media to reduce problems caused by street drinking.

2015 - 2017: UK LA Care Homes – ‘Just Right’ tele-healthcare care project evaluation for adults with learning disabilities. Evaluating a movement sensor system which detects activity in each room of a living environment.

2014 - 2015: States of Jersey Mental Health Service Redesign – Principal Consultant role working with the system leaders for whole service to enable the redesign process.

2014: NHS England Mental Health Commissioning Executive Leadership Programme for West Midlands CCGs – Co-design and delivery of the leadership programme for Mental Health Leads in CCGs. 

2013 - 2015: Northwest Deanery – ‘Medical Leadership in Practice’ Cohort Tutor. Co-design and delivery of the leadership programme for doctors in training.

2012: Cumbria County Council -‘Transition and Resilience’ leadership programme for senior managers to help them accelerate service and structural transformation programmes

2012: Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust ‘Learning Leaders’ and ‘Developing Leadership Excellence’ programmes for senior managers and clinicians to improve the dynamic change capability across the organisation

2011 - 2013: Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Partnership Trust Integrated Leadership Programmes. Executive education programme co-design and delivery for service leads across both organisations. First use of the Stilwell film resource for that purpose.   

2011-12: Shropshire & South Staffordshire NHS Mental Health Trusts. Specialist support to the wholesale redesign and evaluation of mental health services

2011 – 12: Calderstones NHS Partnership Foundation Trust, ‘Soul Centred Leaders’ preventative programme to reduce the chances of ward manager burn out.

2011: NIHR/Sandwell Hospitals NHS Trust Surgical Review to evaluate the impact on staff and patients of centralising surgical services.

2010: NHS National Leadership Council – leadership accreditation international benchmarking study to improve undergraduate and postgraduate health leadership education in the UK.

2009 - 2010, NHS West Midlands – Telehealthcare Project Managers. Leadership development programme to help mainstream tele-healthcare and to support self-management of long term conditions 

Other activities

  • Member of the Association for Coaching
  • Member of the Royal Society for Public Health
  • Member of the British Academy of Management.
  • Member of the Institute for Medical Ethics


Recent publications


Conroy, M, Malik, AY, Hale, C, Weir, C, Brockie, A & Turner, C 2021, 'Using practical wisdom to facilitate ethical decision-making: a major empirical study of phronesis in the decision narratives of doctors', BMC Medical Ethics, vol. 22, no. 1, 16.

Malik, A, Conroy, M & Turner , C 2020, 'Phronesis in medical ethics: courage and motivation to keep on the track of rightness in decision-making', Health Care Analysis, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 158–175.

Bramley, G, Mangan, C & Conroy, M 2018, 'Using telemonitoring to support personal care planning for adults with learning disabilities', Journal of telemedicine and telecare.

Kotzee, H, Paton, A & Conroy, M 2017, 'Towards an empirically informed account of 'phronesis' in medicine', Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 337-350.

Mabey, C, Conroy, M, Blakeley, K & De Marco, S 2016, 'Having burned the Straw Man of Christian spiritual leadership, what can we learn from Jesus about leading ethically?', Journal of Business Ethics, pp. 1-13.

Conroy, M 2015, 'Leadership, Resistance and Innovation', Salute e Societa, no. 1, pp. 79-100.

Froggett, L, Conroy, M, Manley, J & Roy, A 2014, 'Between art and social science: scenic composition as a methodological device', Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 15, no. 3, 5.

Wart, MV & Conroy, M 2014, 'Contemporary Varieties of Ethical Leadership in Organizations', International Journal of Business Administration, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 27-45.

Conroy, M, Hall, I & Marshall, J 2012, 'A place To: ‘Soul-centred’ leadership courses are helping nurses cope with pressure, writes Mervyn Conroy', Nursing Standard, vol. 26, no. 44, pp. 16-17.

Hall, I, Marshall, J & Conroy, M 2012, 'A place to unwind', Nursing Standard, vol. 26, no. 44, pp. 16-7.


Conroy, M, Hale, C & Turner, C 2017, Leadership development and the cultivation of practical wisdom. in "Leadership Matters?": Finding Voice, Connection and Meaning in the 21st Century. Taylor and Francis, pp. 167-178.


Malik, AY & Conroy, M 2020, 'Virtues and phronesis: making decisions in the clinical context', American Journal of Bioethics, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 73-74.

Commissioned report

Malik, A, Weir, C, Conroy, M, Hale, C & Turner , C 2020, Phronesis and the Medical Community Follow-on Impact and Engagement Report: Impact Assessment of Phronesis Resources on Ethical Decision Making for Doctors . Phronesis and The Medical Community Research Reports, no. 1, vol. 2, University of Birmingham. <>

Conroy, M, Biggerstaff , D, Brockie, A, Hale, C, Knox, R, Malik, A, Turner , C & Weir, C 2018, Phronesis in medical decision making: medical leadership, virtue ethics and practical wisdom.

Other chapter contribution

Conroy, M 2015, Is It Possible to Learn Ethical Leadership? Macintyre, Žižek and the Recovery of Virtue. in C Mabey & W Mayrhofer (eds), Developing Leadership: ¿ Questions Business Schools Don't Ask ?. Paul Chapman / Sage Publications Ltd, pp. 165-177.

View all publications in research portal