Jan De Maeseneer, M.D., Ph.D., Sofie Dhaese, Inge Van de Caveye, Bart Vergauwe, and Sarah Bogaert, M.A. Ghent University

Background The Lancet Commission report requires medical faculties to train health professionals who have leadership attributes and who can act as change agents. Both the conceptual background of these requirements and the appropriate educational strategies are actually unclear. There is still a lot of debate on the concept of transformational leadership and how it could be learned (see Box C-1).

Aim To assess to what extent the different ways student participation in the medical training at Ghent University contributes to acquiring skills that could be useful for transformational leadership.

Results Medical students are organized via a Student Workgroup on Medical Education (SWME), founded in 1999. Students were very much involved in the fundamental curriculum reform that took place: from a traditional discipline-based curriculum toward an integrated contextual

Definition of Transformational Leadership

Jan De Maeseneer, Ghent University, and Dawn Forman, Curtin University, proposed the following definition for transformational leadership:

Transformational leadership occurs when leaders articulate the purpose and the mission interactively (Gumusluoglu and Ilsev, 2009) with the group and are intellectually stimulating the group, championing innovation, and inspiring group members to become change agents. Transformational leadership is characterized by connecting the member’s sense of identity and self to the project and the collective identity of the organization by being a role model for the group members that inspires them and keeps them interested. Transformational leadership challenges group members to take greater ownership and strategic understanding of the context, the strengths and the weaknesses that have to be addressed in the change process. Transformational leadership creates a climate of trust, a process of empowerment, and guarantees safety so that group members can look beyond their own self-interest (Bass and Avolio, 1994) in order to make change happen.

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