Women's leadership in the Public Dental Service in Finland.
This study aimed to examine how leadership positions in the Public Dental Service (PDS) were distributed between women and men and how the female and male lead dentists perceived themselves as managers or leaders and whether their superiors, the leading doctors and municipal decision makers or their subordinates, the public dentists, found differences between female and male lead dentists as leaders.
Gender aspects on the leadership qualities of the lead dentists in the Public Dental Service were evaluated by four professional groups using a questionnaire. The groups surveyed were: lead dentists (in charge of the municipal PDS clinics), leading doctors (lead dentists'line managers), the directors of municipal health boards, and the PDS dentists (subordinates to the lead dentists). Factor analysis, chi-square and non-parametric tests were used to analyse the data gathered.
Women made up 50% (96/192) of the lead dentists, 80% (211/263) of the public dentists, 31% (47/152) of the leading doctors, and 27% (33/124) of directors of the municipal health boards (P<0.001). Nearly all female (92%; 86/93) and 78% (70/90) of the male lead dentists considered themselves to be good people-oriented leaders (P<0.01) and three-quarters of the men (74%; 67/90) and 59% (54/92) of the women good goal-oriented managers (P<0.05). In the eyes of their nearest superiors, the female and male lead dentists were rated equally; they were given scores as goal-oriented managers, people-oriented leaders (both medians= 3.2 on a scale from 1 to 4), and their ability (median=3.5) to take care of their tasks. Their decision authority, power in municipal decision-making (median=2.8), was considered weaker. Most, 67% (70/105), of the PDS dentists evaluated their female superiors and 50% (75/150) their male superiors good as goal-oriented managers (P<0.001), and 51% (54/105) considered their female superiors and 35% (53/150) their male superiors good as people-oriented leaders (P<0.05).
Female dentists had not become lead dentists in proportion to their numbers in the PDS. Those who had a leading position felt that they were good leaders, their superiors considered them as good as their male colleagues, and their subordinates felt they were better.
National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland. firstname.lastname@example.org
SourceOral health and dental management 11:2 2012 Jun pg 74-82
MeSHAttitude of Health Personnel
Dental Health Services
Public Health Dentistry
Pub Type(s)Journal Article