Leadership succession preparedness and sense of urgency in Canadian hospital pharmacy

Zack Dumont, Neil J. MacKinnon, William Mueller, Kelly Babcock, Jenelle Sobotka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Leadership turnover is unavoidable in all organizations, including hospital pharmacy departments. Succession planning can promote organizational stability, among other benefits. Objectives: To gather a contemporary, nationwide measure of the level of preparedness for department leadership succession and to gain related insight from a variety of pharmacy leaders. Methods: This study was an environmental scan of Canadian hospital pharmacy leaders. An online survey was conducted to identify the current rate of succession planning; to describe existing succession plans; to determine the perceived need for succession planning; and to describe strategies for, barriers to, and facilitators of succession planning. Results: Eighty-three responses were received. Thirteen respondents (16%) reported that their hospital pharmacy departments had a succession plan, and 13 (16%) of individuals had known successors. Most respondents (64/75 [85%]) perceived succession plans to be rare or nonexistent across Canada. However, 72% (54/75) felt that succession planning was needed for their own leadership position. The most common barriers to succession planning were a lack of formal structure or tools, lack of plan implementation, unionization, and lack of career ladder positions. Select facilitators to succession planning identified by respondents were having a strong existing leadership and having an abundant pool of capable successors. Conclusions: Most Canadian hospital pharmacy departments and individual leaders represented in this survey were not prepared with succession plans. A collective effort to proactively enact succession planning in Canadian hospital pharmacy departments would have multiple benefits for existing and aspiring leaders and, ultimately, the profession as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Competency
  • Human resources
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Succession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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