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-Dr. Louis Rubino, California State University, Northridge


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-Dr. Louis Rubino, California State University, Northridge


SAGE Journal Articles with Discussion Questions

Article 1.  Leadership in the NHS: does the Emperor have any clothes? by Kath Checkland. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, October 2014; vol. 19, 4: pp. 253-256., first published on April 22, 2014.

Article 2.  Leadership in academic health centers in the US: A review of the role and some recommendations. By Thomas P Weil. Health Services Management Research, February-June 2014; vol. 27, 1-2: pp. 22-32.

Article 3.  Leadership competencies in the context of health services. Health Serv Manage Res, May 2008, 21: 117-130.

Article 4.  Valuing empathy and emotional intelligence in health leadership: a study of empathy, leadership behaviour and outcome effectiveness. By C Skinner and P Spurgeon. Health Services Management Research, February 1, 2005; vol. 18, 1: pp. 1-12.

Article 5.  Complex leadership competency in health care: towards framing a theory of practice by Randal Ford. Health Services Management Research, August 2009; vol. 22, 3: pp. 101-114.

-Dr. Louis Rubino, California State University, Northridge



Activity 1.  Discuss current events every week. Send students the clippings of ones you will review in class. You can also assign students to present articles to the class and begin a discussion on the leadership implications.  

Activity 2.  If possible, incorporate team-based service projects. Students not only get to experience team dynamics first hand, but also provide a community service focusing on a health care issue.

Course Requirement: Team building and team development are important leadership competencies which can be practiced on these projects. The projects are culminating experiences for the undergraduates and promotes student-affiliation building for the graduate students. The course objectives met are: 1. Describe, apply and critique selected leadership skills through problem solving, role-playing, team building activities and simulations relevant to health organizations. 2. Plan and implement a student team based project utilizing leadership skills.

As an example, sponsor an IHI Open School Chapter on campus. Collect and send used medical equipment to foreign countries, coordinate a campus panel speaker event, and conduct a community health fair. 

Activity 3.  Promote the Affordable Care Act on campus during open enrollment.

Activity 4.  Interview a health care leader in the community using a set of leadership questions designed by the class so comparisons can be made. Students make presentations about the leader and his/her responses. 

Activity 5.  Ask students to read "Bayer's CEO Injects a Dose of U.S. Risk-Taking" from The Wall Street Journal. This article is accessible to professors who pay a subscription.

Summary of article: Since he took the helm in 2010, CEO Marijn Dekkers has rocked Bayer's staid culture by demanding that division heads have marketing backgrounds rather than science pedigrees. He presided over the launch of five new blockbuster drugs and has beefed up the group's over-the-counter drug business with the $14.2 billion acquisition of U.S.-based Merck's consumer-care division. Now he is preparing to spin off Bayer's $10 billion specialty-plastics business so as to refocus on the health-care and agriculture businesses. Bayer is poised to benefit from new synergies as the group becomes a more integrated life-sciences company: "Material Science really didn't fit in a life-sciences company."

Classroom Application: The most interesting aspect of the story is the cultural issue. Dekkers spent 25 years of his career in the US and is trying to transplant the best of American corporate culture to his overly planned German company. US companies often operate on an "80-20 rule," he said, meaning they begin to execute ideas with only 80% of necessary data in hand. "Here, if I would be kind, in the beginning, we had a 99-1 rule. And I'm kind." His priorities have been speed, adaptability and more risk-taking.


1. (Advanced) What kind of company did Marijn Dekkers inherit when he took over Bayer AG? In what way was this a truly German company?

2. (Advanced) How is he trying to make Bayer a bit more "American"? Which aspects of American corporate culture is he now trying to transplant? What does he most want to change?

3. (Introductory) Which specific strategic moves has Dekkers made in the composition of the firm? In what very visible ways has he transformed Bayer?

4. (Introductory) How has the stock market reacted? Is this a purely good sign? Or are there risks in Dekkers' strategy, do you think?

-Dr. Louis Rubino, California State University, Northridge


Suggested Assignments

Assignment 1.  Healthcare Leadership: Culture or Ethics Paper

Select either culture or ethics as they relate to leadership in healthcare.  Research your topic using industry sources, journals, and websites as references.  Points will be awarded for the quality of the research. Write a final paper that discusses the current healthcare leadership practices as they relate to the topics of either culture or ethics. All sources must be cited in your paper.  Include discussion of your own personal leadership assessment as it compares to the information you researched and from information obtained through your assessments completed as part of this course.

Assignment 2.  Questionnaire Reflection Paper

At the end of each chapter of the Northouse textbook, there is a questionnaire. Students are to complete each questionnaire and post their results and quick analysis on before the class in which the chapter is assigned. Additional assessments may be conducted in class. Students will write a 3-page paper maximum (word-processed, 12 pt font, 1-inch margins, double spaced), assessing yourselves as a leader using several of your Northouse questionnaires, the additional assessments, and other course content. Reference requirements: At least three peer-reviewed journal articles. If citing information from a Web site, please include full Web site in reference.

Assignment 3.  Leadership Book Panel Discussion

Student teams (3 optimally) are to conduct a strictly timed 15 to 20 minute current leadership book panel discussion with the class. This is a shared presentation and balance of speaking for the students is important. Points will be deducted if presentations last longer than 20 minutes and professor will be forced to stop the presentation.  Students will be assigned teams and dates for their presentation during the first couple weeks of class. A current leadership book (not health care specific) is to be approved by the instructor in advance. The presentation should be arranged so that one person gives a brief summary of the book and the other two presenters debate the value of book (critique it) as to how it applies (or does not apply) to the healthcare industry. A one page summary is to be prepared and passed out to the class. An outline of this summary report will be on Moodle. No PowerPoint/media projection is to be used for the presentation. All members of the team will receive the same number of points.

-Dr. Louis Rubino, California State University, Northridge


Discussion Questions

The three examples below are discussion postings which students must answer within the week assigned and must response to at least two other student postings.

Discussion Question 1.  Describe the role of the health care leader and how it is different than the health care manager.

Discussion Question 2. State your conflict resolution assessment results (I administer this assessment beforehand) and if your preferred mode is surprising to you. Please give an example of a conflict you resolved to support or dispute the results you obtained.

Discussion Question 3. Describe which leadership competencies best help one lead under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

-Dr. Louis Rubino, California State University, Northridge


Sample Syllabi

Leadership in Health Administration Practice (graduate course; on campus) Rubino, Syllabus 1.doc

Leadership in Health Administration Practice (MPA course toward a Health Administration certificate; online) Rubino, Syllabus 2.docx

-Dr. Louis Rubino, California State University, Northridge



We gratefully acknowledge  the following individuals for granting us permission to post the content on this page.

Louis Rubino, PhD
Professor and Program Director, Health Sciences
California State University, Northridge