alexa Leadership Practices and Perceptions in Oral Healthcare
ISSN: 2247-2452

Oral Health and Dental Management
Open Access

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Review Article

Leadership Practices and Perceptions in Oral Healthcare: A Scoping Review

 
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Abstract

Background: Leadership represents a mixture of traits, qualities and behaviors that enable the participation, development, and commitment of the followers in the organization. Dental practitioners, due to the nature of their practice, are expected to have knowledge of practice management and to become effective leaders of their teams. Purpose: This research aims to provide an overview of the research documenting leadership perceptions, behaviors and practices in oral healthcare. Moreover, it is also aimed to document potential barriers leadership imposes to dentists, and the types of leadership training offered in dental education. Methodology: Three databases (PubMed, ScienceDirect and Scopus) were searched by using the syntax: (leadership AND dentistry) OR (leadership AND dentists) OR (leadership AND dental practice) OR (leadership AND oral health). 880 articles were initially identified. 260 articles remained after applying the inclusion criteria: (1) research documenting leadership in dentistry, (2) written in English, (3) published in peer-reviewed journals, (4) access to full electronic text, (5) full text available. 199 articles remained after scanning for duplicates, out of which 123 were original research. After scanning them by the title, abstract and keywords, 11 articles were found relevant, and were included for the final analysis. Results: Leadership was studied from the perspectives of dental practitioners, dental academia, dental leaders and dental students. Leadership and leadership training were perceived important across all groups. Perceived indicators of leadership included being recognized as an expert, teaching and research activities, and being involved in policy. Clinical, transformational, and entrepreneurial leadership definitions were given. Leadership practices were related to practice management, dental organizations and activities in the community. Leadership behaviors included teamwork, conflict management, shared decision-making processes and staff engagement. The main barriers to leadership for dentists were lack of training, money, time constraints, family obligations, and government reforms. All groups advocated for incorporating leadership training in dental education. Discussion: To the best of the researcher’s knowledge, this is the first systematic review on leadership in dentistry. Different dimensions of leadership occur at each stage of professional development. Dentists need to be aware of leadership practices and behaviors so that they could effectively manage their practice, and achieve high quality care for their patients. However, all dental professionals agreed that leadership was important in dentistry and that training can help dentists become effective leaders.

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