Kirsty Marles

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration

First Supervisor

Professor Carole Steketee

Second Supervisor

Professor Graham Dickson

Third Supervisor

Dr. Peter Gall


This research facilitated an approach to apply the concept of distributed leadership, as articulated in Health LEADS Australia: the Australian health leadership framework to generate the conditions required to support sustained collaborative practice. The setting for this research was ViTA South, which, at the time of the research was a newly established teaching, research aged care service located in Adelaide, South Australia. The research was concerned with developing distributed leadership amongst the staff team to engender sustained collaborative practice, critical to realising the vision for ViTA South, which requires collaboration beyond the traditional practices of an aged care workforce. This research has facilitated a unique, systematic and deliberate organisational development approach to introduce the concept of distributed leadership into a practical setting. Critical to the organisational development approach was ‘sensemaking’ which was used as a process to shape thinking and to make sense of the ambiguous concept of distributed leadership as it applies to practice. Action research facilitated the sensemaking process. The use of logic modelling enabled the articulation, sharing and presentation of unique insights into the underlying thinking and action which developed as a result of the sensemaking process. The research has drawn on current health leadership theory as it applies to practice to provide insight into, and elaboration of the factors that make distributed leadership work in this context.

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