Leading change: a challenge for leaders in Nordic health care

J Nurs Manag. 2010 Jul;18(5):613-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2010.01097.x.


Aims: The aim of the present study was to describe personnel's attitudes to change processes between a regional hospital and the primary health care centre as well as investigate these results with regards to theories pertaining to change and leading change.

Background: Leadership has three crucial dimensions: focusing on personnel, results/key processes and the ethical base of activities.

Methods: A survey was conducted in 2003 using a comprehensive questionnaire. The total sample consisted of the personnel (n = 899) at the two organizations (answering rate was 68.8%). The data were analysed descriptively.

Results: Approximately two-thirds of the respondents understood why the merger was occurring. Only one-third expressed that they had received sufficient information regarding the merger. In total 67% felt that the merger would create conflict while approximately one-fourth expressed uncertainty. Despite such negative responses, approximately two-thirds felt there were advantages to the merger. Significant differences were seen between the groups.

Conclusions: In times of change personnel expect leaders to focus on dialogue with their personnel and to anchor the vision of the change process amongst the personnel.

Implications for nursing management: By identifying the 'prison of thought' and creating an atmosphere where reflection and discussion are valued the nurse leader can help prevent resistance to change.

MeSH terms

  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Models, Nursing
  • Models, Organizational
  • Nurse Administrators
  • Nursing, Supervisory*
  • Organizational Innovation*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uncertainty