Background: Research in physiotherapy has increased rapidly over the last decade, yet studies have shown that many practice decisions continue to be based on knowledge obtained during initial physiotherapy education and/or personal experience, rather than findings from research. Both barriers and facilitators to achieving a more evidence-based practice (EBP) in physiotherapy have been identified. Leadership is one facilitator that has been recognized to have an important influence on the implementation of EBP in various settings. Our aim was to explore how physiotherapy leaders in Sweden influence the culture for implementation of evidence-based physiotherapy practice.
Methods: Nine interviews with managers of physiotherapy clinics were conducted in various settings in Sweden. Data were analysed using qualitative analysis and a framework developed by Schein (Schein EH. Organizational culture and leadership. 4th ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 2010) was applied.
Results: The framework identifies a number mechanisms by which leaders can influence the culture of an organization and/or groups within an organization. The mechanisms of paying attention to, measuring and controlling on a regular basis as well as deliberate role modelling, teaching and coaching did have some relevance. However, EBP issues seemed to depend on committed individuals, often younger physiotherapists, who were interested in research.
Conclusions: Overall, there was limited relevance for most of the embedding mechanisms. The findings suggest that physiotherapy leaders in Sweden contribute to a modest degree to establishing a culture conducive to implementation of an evidence-based physiotherapy practice.