Preparing for the future: challenges and opportunities for management and leadership skills

S. Morison, C. McMullan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
425 Downloads (Pure)


Objective The aim of the study was to explore dental leaders' perceptions of the current position of leadership in the dental profession.

Design A qualitative, key informant, exploratory research study was used with semi-structured interviews as the means of data collection.

Materials and methods Participants were invited based on their role in dental services in the UK and their ability to act as a key informant. Thirteen participants were secured and interviewed either at their workplace or in a University setting. Each interview lasted between 45 and 60 minutes.

Results The findings show that while recognising that a lack of focus on leadership skills has caused problems in the past, current dental leaders are prepared to lead the profession forward. The participants viewed education at all levels as vital to this process and education for leadership at undergraduate level was perceived as an important way forward.

Conclusions The development of effective leaders is essential for all healthcare professions and increasingly is becoming a key focus for the UK dental profession. There is comparatively little research about dental leadership in a UK context and this paper should begin to help to redress the balance and to highlight areas for future consideration. Three broad emergent themes are described and discussed – characteristics and behaviours of dental leaders; challenges for dental leaders; education and training for dental leadership.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberE2
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

This article addresses a significant issue in relation to the future of dental education. It relates directly to the introduction of a new national framework for dental education where for the first time a 'management and leadership' domain will be part of the undergraduate core. This artcile has the potential to be hugely influential and is located in a journal with high impact amongst the dental community. Pre publication it has already resulted in communication from the BDJ editor who has expressed an interest in further publications in this area.


  • leadership education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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