The New Role of Leadership in Managing Innovative Organizations

The context of the pandemic has had a limiting impact on innovation and organizational competitiveness, as well as on leadership development. The impact has been particularly severe in those places where spending cuts and staff reductions have been greatest. Therefore, thinking about integrated healthcare has become fundamental from the worker’s point of view, and this includes thinking about life inside and outside organizations.

In many countries, the public and private sectors are interdependent when it comes to the health and care of the population and workers in general. Thus, each organization was faced with a previously unknown scenario of profound changes in routine, the massive entry of the home office into people’s lives, the paralysis of some services and, above all, the confrontation of a global crisis, which still has an impact on the physical and mental health of individuals.

Therefore, the question that needs to be asked is “how do we deal with this scenario?” taking into account that the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is a double opportunity to harness the power of change and collaborative work, along with the fight for the common good, and also to provide a clear purpose and sense of urgency for social life, of which organizational culture is a reflection.

An important point I would like to highlight is the change in the role of leadership, which in this new scenario needs to be decentralized and innovated. Modern thinking has focused on the characteristics of multilevel leadership needed to support comprehensive healthcare at macro, meso and micro levels. The first refers to the overall macro-level political context, i.e., the larger environment in which the organization is embedded and the local culture. The second, the meso level, refers to organizational behaviour and culture, which is often related to the larger social space. Finally, the micro level, of individual leaders and managers. New forms of governance require leadership that assigns responsibilities not only within organizations and structures, but between them, enacted by all those involved in the creation and production of health services.

Leadership is no longer about the leader, but more about what can be achieved through leadership. In this scenario, it is co-constructed by the actors through the work of leadership to achieve a distinctive and collaborative result to help realize the potential of this system of governance that links the macro, meso and micro levels. The innovative organization needs to talk to its time and be attentive to the needs of the people but also of the territory in which it operates.

Profa. Dra. Karla Cristina Rocha Ribeiro
University of MarĂ­lia

Further reading:

Moore, J., Elliott, I.C., & Hesselgreaves, H. (2023). Collaborative Leadership in Integrated Care Systems; Creating Leadership for the Common Good. Journal of Change Management. Advanced online publication. ttps://

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