The CIHLC has conducted literature reviews and qualitative research on collaborative leadership and its potential for impacting health system change. This foundational research has been compiled into a collection of reports below.

For an overview of evaluation tools for interprofessional care (IPC) in Canada, see the IPC Evaluation exemplars handout.


Scoping Review – What informs the Topic of Collaborative Leadership for Healthcare System Change

A review of scientific and gray literature was conducted which demonstrated that “collaborative leadership” is difficult to articulate as a definable concept. The lack of one single accepted definition concept or framework means that assessing the evidence for the efficacy of collaborative leadership skills is difficult. The term “collaborative leadership” is applied to diverse ways of practicing collaboration, generally aimed at the broad movement away from an “individual expert” model of leadership to drawing on multiple perspectives for richer responses to complex questions or needs.  Collaborative leadership is broadly described as a necessity in a world of increasing complexity and rapid change, where no one person or perspective could possibly comprehend or influence the kinds of responses, thinking and actions required for sustainable transformation in health.


Key Informant Interviews Report

To further enrich our understanding of collaborative leadership, over 30 interviews were conducted with senior thought leaders in interprofessional education, senior educators, hospital and government leaders, emerging leaders and students across the health professions, and international thought leaders in health and in leadership, to learn from their experiences and perspectives.

The characteristics and practices of collaborative leaders described by the interviewees validated those described in the scoping review. Some common key elements included humility, excellence in communication, self-awareness/self-reflection, co-creating a shared vision with others, influencing and engaging people, and the ability to effectively use group processes. Although there were common ideas about the characteristics and practices that describe the process of collaborative leadership, there was no single shared understanding of how collaborative leadership should be defined.


Systematic Literature Review Report

A systematic literature review of peer-reviewed literature on leadership curricula was conducted early during Phase 1 of this program development to analyze the competency methodologies and impacts of health leadership education. The review began with a sample of over 30,000 titles, which was reduced to 250 titles through a double-blind selection utilizing the CIHLC selection criteria. Only seven of these papers made specific reference to collaborative leadership. These were general and did not present a structured program for collaborative leadership capacity development. Shared elements in the programs were collaborative problem solving and shared decision machining.

A cluster analysis was performed on the results concerning the competencies identified in the literature. Five themes emerged from this analysis: innovation and system change to improve service delivery, tools to transform service delivery, collaboration/leadership, teambuilding and partnerships, and personal/interpersonal competencies.


Methodologies and Findings of the Inventory Review of Select Canadian Leadership Courses Available to Health Professionals

A grey literature review of existing health leadership curricula was undertaken through a thorough search on websites within schools of medicine/nursing/public health/business in Canadian universities and select national associations This was done to identify collaborative leadership programs in Canada, to learn from existing programs as well as to establish gaps that can be addressed through new program creation.  Approximately 350 health leadership programs were identified. Of this number 30 programs targeting practicing professionals and leaders were identified to have possible collaborative leadership content. Sixteen of these programs were surveyed and of the 11 respondents, all programs identified themselves as multiprofessional or interprofessional. Common competencies included team building, team leading, shared decisions making and making sure all are heard, evidence based decision making, system change, personal development and emotional intelligence.