Effective leadership of improvement: The research

John Øvretveit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Research and practice are increasingly showing that leadership and organisational factors significantly influence the success of an improvement initiative. But which actions and which factors are important, for which types of improvement? How does leadership take account of or influence organisational factors? Leaders want more than general principles, but mature leaders are also rightly suspicious of precise directions about which actions to take, knowing that they will need to shape their actions to their situation. Research does provide some answers to these questions, and these are presented in the paper. Where there is no strong evidence from research, the paper draws on experiential and consultant reports and theories to provide 'best available evidence' guidance to different leaders, noting also the limitations of an evidence-based approach for guiding a leader's improvement actions and the opportunities for research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Leadership
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Improvement initiatives
  • Management development
  • Patient safety


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