|Title||Leadership styles in two Ghanaian hospitals in a challenging environment|
|Author(s)||Aberese-Ako, Matilda; Agyepong, Irene Akua; DIjk, Han van|
|Source||Health Policy and planning 33 (2018). - ISSN 0268-1080 - p. ii16 - ii26.|
Sociology of Development and Change
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||capacity - Context - frontline health worker - Ghana - hospital managers - leadership - low- and middle-income country - management - motivation|
Hospital managers' power to exercise effective leadership in daily management can affect quality of care directly as well as through effects on frontline workers' motivation. This paper explores the influence of contextual factors on hospital managers' leadership styles and the motivation of frontline workers providing maternal and new born care in two public district hospitals in Ghana. It draws on data from an ethnographic study that involved participant observation, conversations and in-depth interviews conducted over 20 months, with frontline health workers and managers. Qualitative analysis software Nvivo 11 was used to facilitate coding, and common patterns emerging from the codes were grouped into themes. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Ghana Health Service Ethical Review Committee. Contextual factors such as institutional rules and regulations and funding constrained managers' power, and influenced leadership styles and responses to expressed and observed needs of frontline workers and clients. The contextual constraints on mangers' responses were a source of demotivation to both managers and frontline workers, as it hampered quality health service provision. Knowing what to do, but sometimes constrained by context, managers described 'feeling sick' and frustrated. On the other hand in the instances where managers' were able to get round the constraints and respond effectively to frontline health workers and clients' needs, they felt encouraged and motivated to work harder. Effective district hospital management and leadership is influenced by contextual factors; and not just individual manager's knowledge and skills. Interventions to strengthen management and leadership of public sector hospitals in low- and middle-income countries like Ghana need to consider context and not just individual managers' skills and knowledge strengthening.