The Tricky and Necessary Business of Developing Leaders in Health Care

Research on the leadership and culture of exemplary health care organizations

From 1999 to 2001, Michael Maccoby, PhD, director of the Project on Technology, Work and Character, examined the leadership visions and strategies of eleven of the country's leading nonprofit health care organizations and academic health centers.

The Project on Technology, Work and Character, which is affiliated with the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, works with companies, unions and governments to create new models of leadership and work relationships.

Key Conclusions

  • Based on his interviews, and building on his own theories of organizational development, Dr. Maccoby concluded that:

    • Health care organizations need to evolve from a traditional medical or "craft" mode to a learning mode of production characterized by continuous innovation, teamwork and shared values.
    • To achieve this ideal, strategic leaders must work to overcome resistance to change, which is particularly strong among physicians, who often regard their values as conflicting with those of their institutions.

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