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Faculty & Research


Board Talk: How Members of Executive Hospital Boards Influence the Positioning of Nursing in Crisis Through Talk

Journal Article
Talk by members of executive hospital boards influences the organizational positioning of nurses. Talk is a relational leadership practice. Using a qualitative-interpretive design the authors organized focus group meetings wherein members of executive hospital boards (7), nurses (14), physicians (7), and managers (6), from 15 Dutch hospitals, discussed the organizational positioning of nursing during COVID crisis. The authors found that members of executive hospital boards consider the positioning of nursing in crisis a task of nurses themselves and not as a collective, interdependent, and/or specific board responsibility. Furthermore, members of executive hospital boards talk about the nursing profession as (1) more practical than strategic, (2) ambiguous in positioning, and (3) distinctive from the medical profession. Such talk seemingly contrasts with the notion of interdependence that highlights how actors depend on each other in interaction. Interdependence is central to collaboration in hospital crises. In this paper, therefore, the authors depart from the members of executive hospital boards as leader and “positioner,” and focus on talk - as a discursive leadership practice - to illuminate leadership and governance in hospitals in crisis, as social, interdependent processes.

Affiliate Professor of Organisational Behaviour