Does Leadership Matter for Healthcare Service Quality? Evidence from NHS England
In this paper we provide first-hand evidence that leadership quality matters for the quality of healthcare provision, based on NHS England hospital trust data between 2010 and 2014. This is the first paper to study this relationship using individual leadership styles, namely, task-, relations-, change- and integrity-oriented, and for different metrics of quality of healthcare provision, including staff and patient satisfaction survey measures and clinical performance indicators. We find that task-oriented leadership has the greatest impact on staff-rated hospital quality while change-oriented leadership affects patient satisfaction and the clinical measure the most. We also find some evidence that organizational autonomy and competition across hospitals moderates the effect of leadership quality on healthcare quality. Overall, our results indicate that ideal healthcare leaders should behave as integrated leaders and that leadership matters at all levels of organizational hierarchy. This has important policy implications for continued support for the development and funding of integrated leadership programs in healthcare.