Identifying distinctive traits of healthcare leaders in Israel: in-depth interviews with senior physicians – an exploratory study

Keren Dopelt, Baruch Levi, Nadav Davidovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper aims to examine the views of physicians in senior management positions regarding the distinctive characteristics and roles of leaders in the Israeli health-care system and what might be the interactions between management and leadership. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 13 semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with physicians in senior management positions. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed using the qualitative-phenomenological method. Findings: Interviewees discerned leaders as exhibiting traits of transformational leadership and managers, as expressing characteristics of transactional leadership. Most interviewees asserted that physicians should act as social leaders promoting public health and equality in health care, beyond their clinical practice. They agreed that physicians should fill most senior positions in the health-care system, provided they undergo appropriate training in management, leadership and interdisciplinary collaboration. Originality/value: Interviewees revealed gaps between the aspiration to lead, perceptions of physicians as leaders and what occurs in reality: physicians wish to assume leadership roles in the health-care system and emphasize the qualities of transformative leadership, but medical education does not include leadership training. Therefore, there is a need to develop training programs for physicians in management and leadership. There is also a need to integrate physicians from various communities to promote local leadership in the health-care field and to reduce disparities. The consideration of health-care leadership is especially applicable in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has placed the question of leadership within and outside of the medical community in a broader social context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalLeadership in Health Services
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Management
  • Public health-care system
  • Social leadership
  • Transactional leadership
  • Transformational leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Health Policy


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