IJBHTM 2016 Volume 6 Issue 3

International Journal of BioSciences, Healthcare Technology and Management (IJBHTM) ISSN: 0975-3893

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The Role of First-Line Managers in Healthcare Change Management: A Ghanaian Context. Emmanuel Kumah, Samuel E. Ankomah, Francis Antwi. IJBHTM (2016), 6(3):20-33


The Role of First-Line Managers in Healthcare Change Management: A Ghanaian Context

Authors & Affiliation:

Emmanuel Kumah1, Samuel E. Ankomah2, Francis Antwi3

1 Institute of Management, Scuola Superiore Sant Anna, Piazza Martiri della Libertà, 33, Pisa PI Italy. E-mail: ababiohemmanuel@gmail.com, Tel: +393319947428

2 Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital-Polyclinic, P.O.Box 1934, Kumasi, Ghana. E-mail: kingkestic@yahoo.com, Tel: +233245709429

3 University of Education, Box 25, Winneba Ghana. E-mail:presearchconsult@yahoo.com, Tel: +233545241128


One of the key concerns in healthcare management is the management of change. The ability to change, adapt and evolve is the only sustainable competitive advantage in today’s healthcare environment. Managing change effectively requires a system of actors, all moving in unison and fulfilling different roles. One actor vital to organizational change success, but neglected both in research and in practice is the first-line manager. Employing cross-sectional survey, this study surveyed 54 first-line managers of two hospitals in Ghana to understand the actual role first-line managers assume during the implementation of change. Secondary objectives were to: identify the skills and competencies these managers need, key challenges they face, and the level of support they receive from top managers in the performance of their change management roles. Six key roles were identified: information diffusion, change advocacy, employee training and development, liaison, resource allocation, and supervision. Technical competencies, effective communication, ability to coach staff through change, problem solving skills and conflict management, and effective team building and team leadership were the five important competencies considered by the first-line managers. Top management support was low, while inadequate training was found to be the main barrier/challenge to the first-line managers’ change management role. With these findings, healthcare managers and policy makers can design appropriate training programmes for lower level managers and invest in their training and development to benefit enormously from the important role they assume during change efforts.

Key words: Change management, first-line manager, organizational change, healthcare