What qualities are required for globally-relevant health service managers? An exploratory analysis of health systems internationally

Reema Harrison*, Lois Meyer, Ashfaq Chauhan, Maria Agaliotis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Globally, health service leaders and managers have a critical role in strengthening health systems. Competency frameworks for health service managers are usually designed to describe expectations of good performance of a health manager within a country-specific health sector context. However, a growing number of health service management roles operate beyond a country-specific level, with managers requiring a global perspective and the skills and knowledge to work effectively across a range of countries and contexts. This study provides an exploratory analysis of the most relevant qualities perceived to facilitate health service managers to be effective when working in such roles.

Methods: A qualitative, descriptive, and exploratory multi-centre study was undertaken. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted between August and November 2017 with 15 health service managers or leaders at a range of levels from seven countries [Australia (5), China (2), Indonesia (3), Oman (1), Papua New Guinea (1), United Kingdom (1) and United States of America (2)].

Results: Five themes emerged relating to the qualities required from health leaders in order to be effective when working in a global context: i) Managing and Making Change, ii) Collaborative Managers and Compassionate Leaders, iii) Continuous Learning, iv) Balancing Management Theory and Practice, and v) Leadership Skills.

Conclusion: Our findings highlight underpinning themes relating to making and managing change and collaboration, reflecting the changing needs of health services to deliver high quality care. These themes were identified in addition to some of the common qualities required of healthcare leaders and managers that are identified that reflect many country-specific frameworks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalGlobalization and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Health leadership
  • Global health
  • Health services
  • Health service management


Dive into the research topics of 'What qualities are required for globally-relevant health service managers? An exploratory analysis of health systems internationally'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this