Reviews

Leadership in health care. A european perspective

This is a relatively short book exploring leadership on the European scene in the context of healthcare systems. The author maintains that it is about leadership, health care and Europe — all of which are changing rapidly and linked together in the process. He argues that healthcare services, organisations and systems cannot be changed without leadership, and that the latter has to take account of the changing environmental conditions. The book contains seven chapters:

Introducing leadership

Leadership movements and models

The context of European health care

Networks, partnerships and collaboration

Leader ship and emotional intelligence

Health care leadership in action

Failing and learning.

The book attempts to provide a link between the worlds of academia and practising management by offering an assessment of the relevant literature as well as practical guidance for developing personal leadership. It includes illustrations which may be appreciated by those studying health management, leadership and public management as well as by professionals within health services.

The author also introduces case material obtained from his colleagues in England, which should appeal to teachers and students alike. However, in the text, the author may confuse the reader by alternating between ‘leader’, as a description of function or office,

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Introducing leadership

Leadership movements and models

The context of European health care

Networks, partnerships and collaboration

Leader ship and emotional intelligence

Health care leadership in action

Failing and learning.

The book attempts to provide a link between the worlds of academia and practising management by offering an assessment of the relevant literature as well as practical guidance for developing personal leadership. It includes illustrations which may be appreciated by those studying health management, leadership and public management as well as by professionals within health services.

The author also introduces case material obtained from his colleagues in England, which should appeal to teachers and students alike. However, in the text, the author may confuse the reader by alternating between ‘leader’, as a description of function or office, and ‘leaders’, as an evaluative description of what someone in a leadership role actually does.

On the other hand, while academic treatises on leadership are often rather dry and seem somewhat unrelated to the real world, and practical accounts often suffer from a lack of objectivity in their presentation, Goodwin’s book attempts to adopt a balanced approach. Certainly, whether one believes that leadership can be studied and learned as a subject or not, it is a very fashionable subject to read about and has captured public interest at the present time.

Perhaps one aspect of the book that may raise a few eyebrows is that, out of only seven chapters, Goodwin devotes an entire chapter (Chapter 5) to leadership and emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, as a concept, was promoted by Daniel Goleman in the late 1990s and both the topic and the approach adopted by Goleman are not without their critics. Nevertheless, it is a topic within the book that forces one to reflect about oneself and experiences gained through interaction with others.

In short, this book does presents a readable point of view on a much researched and written about subject. It is certainly worth looking at since it raises important issues and even controversies for the reader to consider.

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