Perceptions of leadership styles in occupational therapy practice

Hitch, Danielle, Lhuede, Kate, Giles, Susan, Low, Robyn, Cranwell, Kathryn and Stefaniak, Rachel 2020, Perceptions of leadership styles in occupational therapy practice, Leadership in Health Services, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 295-306, doi: 10.1108/LHS-11-2019-0074.

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Title Perceptions of leadership styles in occupational therapy practice
Author(s) Hitch, DanielleORCID iD for Hitch, Danielle
Lhuede, Kate
Giles, Susan
Low, Robyn
Cranwell, Kathryn
Stefaniak, Rachel
Journal name Leadership in Health Services
Volume number 33
Issue number 3
Start page 295
End page 306
Total pages 12
Publisher Emerald Publishing
Place of publication Bingley, Eng.
Publication date 2020-04-22
ISSN 1751-1879
Keyword(s) management effectiveness
management styles
evidence-based occupational therapy practice
self report
evidence-based practice
Summary PurposeLeadership is a critical topic in healthcare because of its influence on direction and culture. This study aims to measure perceptions of leadership styles amongst occupational therapy clinicians. The study also sought to identify any significant differences between the perceptions of clinician groups, compare findings with established norms and explore associations between leadership styles and outcomes.Design/methodology/approachA cross sectional, descriptive study method was used, using the multifactor leadership questionnaire 5X (MLQ-5X) to survey occupational therapists working in physical and mental health clinical services in Australia. Descriptive statistics were used to address the aims of this study.FindingsA number of significant differences in leadership perceptions were identified between junior and senior clinicians, however, very few differences were detected between the physical and mental health settings. The scores provided by participants were consistently lower than those reported for geographically relevant norms, with the majority on or close to the 40th percentile. A significant relationship was found between transformative leadership and outcomes, and a strong relationship between contingent reward and outcomes. However, the negative relationships between other leadership styles and outcomes reported in other studies were not found.Research limitations/implicationsTransformational leadership, and some aspects of transactional leadership, are used in occupational therapy. The career stage has an impact on how leadership behaviours are perceived. The MLQ-5X could enable a consistent approach to research into healthcare leadership, and the exploration of whether these findings are generalisable beyond the Australian context.Practical implicationsCareer stage may be a more significant influence on leadership perception than service setting, and efforts to develop leadership in occupational therapy should focus on both transformative and transactional leadership. Perceptions of occupational leadership from all areas of the workforce are important to understand, given their potential impact on workplace behaviour, career progression, recruitment and retention.Originality/valueThis study is a partial replication of a previous study conducted in the USA, being the first to use the MLQ-5X with the Australian occupational therapy workforce. As such, it consolidates the existing evidence base in this area and also enables international comparisons of findings.
Language eng
DOI 10.1108/LHS-11-2019-0074
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1117 Public Health and Health Services
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2020, Emerald Publishing
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Health and Social Development
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