Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Leadership has been established as a key competency for occupational therapists, however the literature on how occupational therapists conceptualize leadership is limited. Additionally, there is a dearth of literature on best practices to develop occupational therapists’ leadership skills and there is yet to be an evaluation of an online educational approach. This study aimed to understand if an online educational platform contributed to the development of leadership skills among occupational therapists. Participants were newly graduated occupational therapists who participated in a four-week Leadership Skills Development massive open online course (MOOC). This study used a mixed methods quasi-experimental design with two intervention cohorts and time series delay. All participants completed the MindTools Leadership Skills Assessment, the Authentic Leadership Self-Assessment Questionnaire and open-ended self-reflection questions. Analysis of the data was conducted using Rstudio, for the quantitative data, and thematic coding, for the qualitative data. The results showed there was not a significant change in scores on the leadership evaluation tools over time. However, cohort A demonstrated an increase in self-awareness and cohort B showed increases in balanced processing, providing support, and stimulation. Both cohorts showed increases in relational transparency. Participants reported that participating in the MOOC provided education on how to further develop leadership skills. Leadership skill development takes time to develop and further evaluation is required to determine if these skills continue to develop when put into practice.


Gobika Sithamparanathan, HBSc, MScOT, OT Reg. (Ont.) (She/Her) completed her Honours Bachelor of Science (HBSc) and her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MScOT) at University of Toronto. She is interested in exploring the collaborative leadership capabilities of occupational therapists through research, non-clinical and clinical work.

Meera Premnazeer, HBSc, MScOT, OT Reg. (Ont.) (She/Her) has completed the MScOT program at the University of Toronto (UofT). Meera is a PhD student at the Rehabilitation Science Institute at UofT with a research focus on creating family-centred resources to support stroke patients and their families in navigating the care journey.

Andrea Duncan, PhD, MBA, BScOT, OT Reg. (Ont.) (She/Her) is Assistant Professor, Teaching stream, in the department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy program at the University of Toronto. Andrea is an occupational therapist with an MBA and a PhD. Andrea’s research is focused on health services, community mental health and educational scholarship.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.