BSc Management with Industrial/Professional Experience

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Wicked Problems: Clumsy Solutions - Leadership in Healthcare

Course unit fact file
Unit code BMAN31762
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


The complexity of modern healthcare, arising from constant innovation, has been described as being of "an order of magnitude" greater than other industries. Currently, health care service users demand a personalised, high quality health care experience, whilst the context of public sector austerity increases the pressure on providers to deliver with high quality and cost containment.

This means that leaders and managers within health care, face the unprecedented challenge to inspire and motivate their workforce to deliver high quality services within a context of diminishing resources. Managing the business of healthcare therefore requires exceptional levels of inter-relational, leadership and financial management skills, whilst also demanding the ability to facilitate the development of knowledge driven, learning organisations.

The aim of this module is to provide final year undergraduate students with an opportunity to study leadership within a high profile public service. The continually evolving nature of health care policy, and provision, provides particular challenges for leadership, making this a valuable learning programme for students across a range of management and business studies courses.

The module will provide a unique opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of leadership and its challenges, as well as enhancing student’s ability to reflect critically and consider the implications for the workplace in general.


Only available to BSc Management/Management Specialisms, IM, IMABS and IBFE.


The course aims to :

·         Introduce students to healthcare systems and the challenges which they face in an attempt to meet the demands of their respective populations;

·         To critically review the quality of healthcare for a range of different stakeholder perspectives, citizen, patient, healthcare professional, healthcare provider, commissioner and regulatory bodies;

·         To take a critical lens to examining the role of leadership in meeting healthcare challenges;

·         To explore the significance of the above for conceptualisations of leadership.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should be able to demonstrate the following:

Intellectual skills
•    Evidence of an inquiry into the theory and practice of leadership;
•    An understanding of different theories of, and approaches to, leadership and their application within healthcare.
•    An appreciation of the challenges in implementing leadership models, and theories, within the public sector.
•    An understanding of current themes in, and emerging conceptions of, leadership.
•    Understanding of key issues relating to the patient experience and involvement within healthcare and the implications of these for healthcare leaders.
•    Awareness of reflection; approaches to and benefits of.

Practical skills
•    Ability to apply knowledge and understanding of business and management to complex issues within healthcare management.
•    The ability to engage in critical reflection and an understanding of its role in healthcare leadership.
•    Practical skills in leading others in the transfer of knowledge.

Transferable skills
•    Skills in working within a team to produce information and to share this with an audience.
•    Skills in presenting to, and engaging with, an audience.
•    Skills in the analysis of complex data and case histories and use of this data to come up with considered recommendations.
•    Skills in presenting a clear and convincing argument.

Personal skills
•    Understanding of individual strengths and challenges.
•    Development of capacity for reflection.
•    Development of skills in knowledge transfer.
•    Development of leadership capability.
Awareness of the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion within healthcare and the wider society.  


The module provides an overview of leadership within health care and then looks in more detail at issues of the changing status of the patient and the implications for leadership in healthcare. The module will also consider various conceptualizations of leadership and their applicability to the realm of healthcare. Throughout the module, the tensions inherent within leadership in health care will be considered.

Teaching and learning methods

The course will  be delivered through weekly lectures, each of which presents a particular topic of relevance to the subject.  The lectures are supplemented with seminars, which enable students to explore, and discuss, the issues discussed in the lectures, in more detail. Seminars will be co-delivered with students to enable experiential learning around leading others in learning.

Employability skills

An awareness of leadership competencies, their limitations and application An awareness of factors which can influence the success of leading a team within a highly complex, and dynamic, environment Enhanced self -awareness and awareness of own talent as a leader. Skills in working within a team to share information with an audience. Skills in reflection, analysis and critique Skills in applying knowledge and frameworks to practice Awareness of the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion and an understanding of potential barriers to its implementation.

Assessment methods

The course will be assessed through: Group leadership of a seminar: 50%Individual reflective piece - 50%

Feedback methods

Students will receive feedback on reflective entries and will be provided with the opportunity to seek feedback through one to one meetings with the course co-ordinator. In addition, students will receive feedback from their peers on their delivery, and content, of the assessed seminar.

Recommended reading

Avery, G and Bergsteiner, H (2011) Sustainable Leadership.  London:  Routledge 

Brookes, S and Grint, K (eds) (2010) The New Public Leadership Challenge Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.

Chambers, N. and Taylor, J. (2021) Organising Care Around Patients: Stories from the Frontline of the NHS, Manchester University Press, Manchester. Found at accessed 5th November 2021

Clegg,  S.R.,  Kornberger,  M.  and  Pitsis,  T.S.  (2019). Managing and  Organizations, 5th edition, London: Sage. 

Grint, K (2008)  Wicked problems:  clumsy solutions. Clinical Leader, Volume I Number II, December 2008

Hartley, J and Benington (2010) Leadership for Healthcare The Policy Press; Bristol.

Northouse, P.G. (2013) Leadership: Theory and Practice, 6th edition, Sage, London.

Walshe, K and Smith, J (2016) Healthcare Management, 3rd edition Oxford: McGraw Hill

West, M.A., (2021). Compassionate leadership: sustaining wisdom, humanity and presence in health and social care.  Swirling Leaf Press

Western, S (2008) Leadership: A Critical Text Sage, London 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Lawrence Benson Unit coordinator
Elaine Clark Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Programme Restrictions: This course is available to final year students on BSc Management / Management Specialism, BSc International Management with American Business Studies , BSc International Management and IBFE.

For Academic Year 2023/24

Updated: March 2023

Approved by: March UG Committee

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