Purpose: This study measured the impact of participation by women academics in the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program as part of a robust evaluation agenda.
Method: The design is a classic pre/post, within-group, self-report study. The survey elicits self-perception about leadership in ten constructs: knowledge of leadership, management, and organizational theory; environmental scanning; financial management; communication; networking and coalition building; conflict management; general leadership; assessment of strengths and weaknesses; acceptance of leadership demands; and career advancement sophistication. The post surveys inquire additionally about perceived program usefulness. Data were collected from 79 participants (1997-98, 1998-99, and 2000-01 classes). Response rates were nearly 100% (pre) and 69% to 76% (post).
Results: Statistically significant increases (p <.01) in perceived leadership capabilities were identified across all ten leadership constructs. Gains were large in knowledge of leadership and organizational theory, environmental scanning, financial management, and general leadership. Gains in career building knowledge were large to moderate. More modest were gains in communication, networking, and conflict management. There were significant correlations between each leadership construct and perceived usefulness of the program.
Conclusions: Significant improvements were reported on all leadership constructs, even when participants viewed themselves as already skilled. While it cannot be concluded that participation in ELAM directly and solely caused all improvements, it seems unlikely that midcareer women faculty would improve on all ten constructs in 11 months after program completion by natural maturation alone. Future research will investigate whether the changes are due to ELAM or other factors, and assess whether participants show more rapid advancement into leadership than comparable women not participating in ELAM.