Rosell, Tracey

Rosell, Tracey
Start date:
October 2018
Research Topic:
Atmospheric work: a study of NHS surgical teams leadership
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor Martin Kitchener, Dr Robin Burrow and Dr Ceri Jones
Supervising school:
Cardiff Business School,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Studies of failings in hospitals have identified leadership shortcomings and that hierarchical leadership may be a cause of these. However, the traditional, hierarchical leadership model may have changed. My research project is designed to explore what the leadership practices in NHS surgical teams today are.
My research interest explores contemporary leadership in Welsh and English NHS surgical teams. I am particularly interested in whether this is hierarchical, non-hierarchical or a mix of these leadership forms.

Successive studies of performance failings in UK hospitals identify shortcomings in approaches to leadership. Traditional, hierarchical leadership may stifle raising of concerns about performance, including patient safety. The doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who work in surgical teams have traditionally operated under such a hierarchical form of leadership.

However, legal restrictions on the working hours of junior doctors, and changes in medical training practices may have altered this form, but there are very few details that have been published about these possible changes in leadership.

I am interested in understanding how people’s experiences of contemporary leadership arrangements differ from the traditional surgical team model, and what may have brought the change about.

This involved looking beyond anecdotal evidence and the visible organisational and working pattern changes. I did so by exploring how people describe what leadership of surgical teams means to them, what the key tensions are between their understanding, based on past experiences, and emerging work arrangements. Also, how staff adapt leadership to address, or work around, those changes and tensions. I explored leadership using the lens of atmosphere.

Case studies have been carried out at three hospital sites in Wales and England.

Publications and Conference Posters:

Rosell T. & Kitchener, M. (2022) Virtualizing HR in healthcrae during COVID: insights from a study of surgical teams. Organizational Behaviour in Health Care conference August 2022. Birmingham, UK.
Rosell, T, Kitchener, M. & Burrow, R. (2022). When ‘the War went to emergency surgery’:
Contextual contestation and perceptions of leadership for surgical teams. British Academy of Management conference 2022. Manchester, UK.
Rosell, T. (2021). Advancing the study of virtuality in leadership: A practice research framework and illustration from a study of surgical teams. 37th EGOS Colloquium 2021. 09 July. Online.
Rosell, T. (2020). Exploring Contemporary Leadership in Surgical Teams: From “huggy touchy feely” to “Attila the Hun meets Genghis Khan”? 12th Organisational Behaviour in Healthcare (OBHC) Conference. 12 June. Online.
Rosell, T. (2020). Understanding Sustainability Leadership Practices: A Fresh Conceptual Framework. 15th Organization Studies Workshop. 22 May. Online.
Rosell, T. (2019) Leadership as Practice in unexpected places: A Leadership as Practice approach to study healthcare teams. International Studying Leadership Conference, December 16-17. Bristol, UK.
Rosell, T. (2019) Leadership-As-Practice: An exploratory study in surgical teams. Poster session at the Health and Care Research Wales Conference. 03 October. Cardiff, UK.
Rosell, T. Kitchener, M. (2019). What, if anything, has replaced the ‘firm’ model of leadership in surgical teams? A Leadership-As-Practice study. British Academy of Management Conference. 04 September. Birmingham, UK.
Rosell, T. (2019) Leadership: evidentially a positive step up? Perspectives from a systematic literature review. Breaking Boundaries Conference. March 19. Cardiff, UK. Awarded First Prize.
Rosell, T. Kitchener, M. (2018) Distributed leadership: can we parachute in effective models? Professionalization and Practice of Medical Leadership symposium. 06 December. Manchester, UK.
Jones, C. et al. 2017. Public sector failure and resilience: lessons for healthcare policy. Report for the Health Foundation. Available at:
Rosell, T.A. 2016. Psychological modelling of surgical safety: can we
Rosell, T. A. (2016, December). Psychological Modelling of Surgical Safety: Can we improve compliance? Poster Session at the Annual Conference of the Division of Occupational Psychology 2017, Liverpool, UK. Awarded Second Prize.