Career path from a dentist to a leader
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CitationTuononen, Tiina A. Suominen, Anna Liisa. Lammintakanen, Johanna. (2018). Career path from a dentist to a leader. Leadership in Health Services, [Epub ahead of print 13 Oct 2017], 10.1108/LHS-08-2017-0051.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper was to study the career paths of leaders with a career background as a dentist from basic degree to chief or executive leadership positions and individual factors that influenced their decisions.
Design/methodology/approach – Semi-structured interview and a questionnaire were used to study 13 leaders using the structure of Edgar Schein’s career anchor interview and career orientation inventory questionnaire. Theory-driven content analysis was used to analyze the data according to themes which included career paths, factors associated with job and career changes and thoughts about future careers.
Findings – Three different career path types were identified: Progressives (Type A), By chance (Type B), and Enthusiasts (Type C). The main motives were: the Progressives’ goal orientation to proceed to higher leadership positions, the By chance group’s job and even career changing by taking a chance on an interesting possibility that comes their way and the Enthusiasts’ willingness to make a difference and search for possibilities to change things. The most important career anchor was “pure challenge” among the Progressives and By chance groups and “general managerial competence” among the Enthusiasts.
Originality/value – Studies on personal factors associating with career paths in health care are scarce and similarly leaders with a dentist background are less studied, even though leadership could be an excellent career choice for a dentist. Different individuals can have varied motives and career paths toward executive positions. Because of the multi-professional functions in health care, organizations could benefit from having leaders with different expertise backgrounds.