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COVID-19 – the term that changed the world – how we live, work, learn, socialize, and – perhaps more importantly, deliver and receive healthcare (sensu lato). For instance, following government and organizational directives, it has shaped: who can interact with who; when they can do it; and how, including the ...

COVID-19 – the term that changed the world – how we live, work, learn, socialize, and – perhaps more importantly, deliver and receive healthcare (sensu lato). For instance, following government and organizational directives, it has shaped: who can interact with who; when they can do it; and how, including the information they are (not) privy to, the resources they can(not) access, and when. These changes can compromise: the organizational practices of a health service; morale; and the wellbeing of those affiliated with the service, be they staff members (including volunteers), patients, or carers. Yet, in the midst of this global pandemic, brilliance happens.

In response to the rapid spread of COVID-19, this Research Topic represents a rapid opportunity to capture, learn from, and inspire leadership and managerial practices that have helpfully navigated this precarious period. Specifically, it will include international exemplars to demonstrate what it takes and can take to lead and manage a health service to ultimately weather storms, like COVID-19. This is important given the expected rise of global crises, like pandemics.

For the purpose of this Research Topic, the term – health service – is purposely expansive, encompassing services that are in the business of promoting wellbeing. As such, they include (but are not limited to): hospitals, primary care clinics, mental health services, rehabilitation services, sexual health clinics, and disability services – be they in the public, private, or the non-government (or not-for-profit) sector.

The importance and urgency of this Research Topic follow extant research, from which three key points are apparent. First, there are likely to be COVID-19-like pandemics in the future, partly due to the Anthropocene epoch. Second, although health services are certainly familiar with, if not accustomed to crisis management, many are ill-prepared for the system-wide effects – if not, seismic shift – associated with instances like COVID-19. Third, relative to clinical research, there is limited scholarship on how to lead and manage health services, particularly during global pandemics.

Although not exhaustive, manuscripts are encouraged to pursue the following lines of inquiry:
• What leadership styles have enabled health services to manage COVID-19 and/or the associated implications, be they (but not limited to):
i) Government directives;
ii) Reduced workforce capacity;
iii) The need to rapidly up-skill and/or (re)deploy employees for roles they were unaccustomed to;
iv) The heightened anxiety of those who manage, deliver, or receive healthcare?
• How have managers made sense of the incredible corpus of data, information, and knowledge, which were often in different forms, and from different sources?
• How have managers translated the aforesaid into actions that encourage others to contribute to a collective cause?
• How have policies and protocols influenced the ways in which health services were led and/or managed?
• How did compassionate healthcare manifest, and what were (and are) the associated effects?
• How did health services optimize resilience during this tumultuous period, and how do they sustain it?
• What enabled health services to be agile and rapidly transform to accommodate COVID-19?
• How can future generations of managers be better prepared to lead what might lie ahead?

To ensure the timely publication of a special issue that is informative and thought-provoking, unconventional, creative manuscripts are encouraged. These might include:
• Autoethnographies;
• Conceptual articles;
• Policy critiques;
• Methodological articles;
• Individual reflections;
• Social reflexions;
• A debate between co-authors;
• Arts-based methods to visualize what might otherwise be invisible – as such, manuscripts can incorporate digital media (including images, videos, and/or audio), illustrations, photos, music, and websites, among other artefacts.

Submissions will be appraised by the Guest Editors to ensure the Research Topic:
• Presents scholarly articles that are robust;
• Serves to inform managers and policymakers;
• Optimizes contextual diversity, with regard to the types of health services, the sectors they represent and their geographical locations.

Keywords: health service management, health service leadership, covid-19, health service organizational practice, health leadership, health managerial practices


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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