How Surgical Leaders Transform Their Residents to Craft Their Jobs: Surgeons' Perspective

L.C. Dominguez*, D. Dolmans, J. Restrepo, W. de Grave, A. Sanabria, L. Stassen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Surgeons should transform their residents to take the lead in their jobs and optimize their working conditions, so-called job crafting. We investigated the actions undertaken by surgeons with a transformational leadership style to encourage residents' job crafting, about which there is at present a paucity of information. Methods: We performed a qualitative study based on principles of constructivist grounded theory. In-depth interviews were held with a purposive sample of surgeons who were perceived as transformational leaders by their residents. During data analysis (open, axial, and selective coding), we compared inductive codes with deductive codes drawn from the job demands-resources and transformational leadership theories to reach a consensus on the interpretation of data and identification of the main themes. Results: Sixteen surgeons participated. Surgeons undertook five actions that enhanced job crafting in residents. They: one) modeled positive behaviors of a good surgeon; two) used a stepwise individual approach toward autonomy; three) connected with the resident as a person; four) supported residents in handling complications and errors; and five) they coached the resident to deal with competing interests. These actions had four consequences for residents. They led to: one) more responsibilities in patient care; two) more constructive relationships in the workplace; three) less pressure from workload and surgical care duties; and four) less personal difficulties and errors in patient care. Conclusions: The actions undertaken by surgeons with a transformational leadership style have a positive association with the residents' ability to craft their jobs. This knowledge has implications for surgeons' leadership development with a view to workplace education. (c) 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021


  • Job crafting
  • Transformational leadership
  • Residency training
  • Workplace-based learning

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