Physicians as inclusive leaders: Insights from a participatory quality improvement intervention

Jenna Howard, Eric K. Shaw, Christina B. Felsen, Benjamin F. Crabtree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The patient-centered medical home model of primary care requires increased collaboration in care delivery. Recent studies suggest that such a collaborative model of care is aided by physician leaders who practice an inclusive approach to leadership; however, they do not empirically demonstrate what such strategies look like in primary care settings, nor do they provide insights to help physician leaders capitalize on the benefits of such an approach. Our analysis offers extended case illustrations of 3 physician leadership behaviors that exemplify leadership inclusiveness (explicitly soliciting team input; engaging in participatory decision making; and facilitating the inclusion of non-team members) as well as 3 behaviors that are counter to inclusiveness. These 6 cases emerged from our analysis of 8 primary care practices that participated in a 3-month facilitated, team-based quality improvement intervention that encouraged leadership inclusiveness. Qualitative data include observational field notes, interviews, and audio-recorded quality improvement meetings. Through these exemplar and nonexemplar cases, we highlight successes and challenges physicians experienced in their collaborative attempts. Such insights may prove important to physicians, researchers, and policy makers alike as they determine how best to aid physician leaders who are being challenged to recreate themselves as facilitators of collaboration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalQuality management in health care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Care Planning


  • physician leaders
  • practice transformation
  • primary care


Dive into the research topics of 'Physicians as inclusive leaders: Insights from a participatory quality improvement intervention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this