chapter  7
22 Pages

The design and evaluation of a leadership programme for experienced chief executives from the health sector

What ideas should underpin a short, intensive development programme for experienced senior managers working in the public sector? This chapter describes an action learning programme designed to ‘renew and refresh’ longserving chief executives in the English National Health Service who were facing considerable performance pressures. An activity theoretical approach was used to help participants stand back from the imperatives of the moment and reflect on the dilemmas of their situations in new ways. Evaluation data suggests that the mix of events included in the programme created a powerful learning experience for most participants. Other theoretical approaches in addition to activity theory are used to explain this outcome. It is suggested that, at times of ongoing change and frustration, programmes such as the one described in the chapter can help participants develop a resilient approach to conflicts and tensions and may stimulate commitment and resolve.