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Leadership Practices of Clinical Trials Office Leaders in Academic Health Centers

Diana D. Naser

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TITLE: Leadership Practices of Clinical Trials Office Leaders in Academic Health Centers
 
RESEARCHER: Diana D. Naser
School of Education
Capella University
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: April 2012

OBJECTIVE
The main purpose of this study was to identify the clinical trials office leadership practices used in academic health centers.

METHODOLOGY
The target population was 237 clinical trials office leaders at U.S. academic health centers. A total of 98 responded (41% response rate), and of these 57 (58%) were from clinical trials office leaders whose focus was cancer, and the remaining were from those whose focus was non-cancer. Twenty-five percent were physicians. Respondents completed the Leadership Practices Inventory.

KEY FINDINGS
Respondents indicated engaging most frequently in Enable, followed by Model and Encourage, and then Challenge and Inspire. These clinical trials office leaders scored, on average, higher than found on the Kouzes Posner normative database, and three of these reached statistical significance (Model, Enable, and Encourage).

While leaders from clinical trials offices whose focus on cancer versus those who focused elsewhere reported higher frequency scores on four of the leadership practices (Model, Inspire, Enable, and Encourage), none of these differences reached statistical significance. One-way ANOVA analysis was used to test for significance of difference between the five leadership practices and the academic health center designation (CTSA-center, NCI-center, both CTSA and NCI-center, and neither CTSA nor NCI center) and no statistically significant differences were found. Finally, physicians reported higher frequency scores on four of the five leadership practices, but were lower on Enable; and the latter was the only statistically significant difference with non-physicians.

As a result of these findings, the researcher offered these recommendations for practice:

1. A clinical trials leadership training program should be developed. While clinical trials leaders scored high in some of leadership practices studied in this research, a training program could provide an opportunity for clinical trials office leaders to enhance their leadership practices in areas with lower scores.
2. Clinical trials office leaders should be encouraged to have more interaction with their senior institutional leadership. In the current study, one of the leadership practices that had the lowest scores is Inspiring a Shared Vision. An increased level of interaction with senior leadership may afford the opportunity for clinical trials office leaders to ensure that they have an increased appreciation for the vision and goals of the institution, which they can then share with their teams.
3. Academic health centers should provide leadership training programs for both new and existing clinical trials leaders.
4. Clinical trials office leaders should seek out additional professional development opportunities to enhance their leadership practices (pp. 99-100).


 

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