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Rosell Rosell   LLB FHEA  MSc, PhD

Dr Rosell Rosell LLB FHEA MSc, PhD

Research Associate

Cardiff Business School


I am a Postdotoral Researcher, interested in exploring contemporary leadership in extreme contexts. My PhD project considered leadership in Welsh and English NHS surgical teams.

Successive studies of performance failings in UK hospitals identify shortcomings in approaches to leadership. Traditional, hierarchical leadership may stifle raising of concerns about performance, including patient safety. The doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who work in surgical teams have traditionally operated under such a hierarchical form of leadership.

However, legal restrictions on the working hours of junior doctors, and changes in medical training practices may have altered this form, but there are very few details that have been published about these possible changes in leadership. The main goal of my research is to develop a framework to explore emergent leadership models and to carry out empirical research.  This provides an avenue to explain how leadership is experienced in today's surgical teams.







Thesis Title: Atmospheric Work: A Study of NHS Surgical Team Leadership

The primary aim of the thesis study is to analyse what changes in leadership members of surgical teams in the National Health Service have experienced since the 1980s. This is the first study to explore this issue by reference to emotional atmosphere, and atmospheric work. An emotional atmosphere is a phenomenon that creates feelings and can be created by the feelings of one or more people. Atmospheric work is activity undertaken to create or maintain a particular kind of emotional atmosphere in a team or organisation. I show that surgical team-members can create atmospheres in a systematic, reproducible way.

This study responds to calls for research regarding surgical teams’ contemporary experiences of leadership, and how leadership varies in different contexts. The social constructionist methodology uses semi-structured interviews, supplemented by observational data, to explore visible and less visible aspects of atmospheric work in leadership processes. This involves collective interactions amongst people and objects.

The findings of the study illustrate four ways in which the nature of atmospheric work has changed and become an increasingly prominent component of contemporary leadership in surgical teams. First, a more collective model of atmospheric work has emerged to challenge the traditionally hierarchical, pastoral, model in surgical team leadership. Second, a process of ‘templating’ has emerged to create a ‘safe atmosphere’, in which people feel safe to speak up about matters that cause them concern. Third a process of ‘virtualizing’ atmospheric work has emerged from the transition from leadership using face-to-face arrangements to virtual arrangements. Fourth, atmospheric disruption occurred from the protracted use of command leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in ‘contextual contestation’: the tension which arises when people have different perceptions of the atmosphere.


Post Graduate Tutor in the following modules:

Ethics and Morality in Business BS3728 (2019/2020)

People in Organizations BS1529 (2018/19)

Organizational Behaviour BS2530 (2018/19)

Managing People BS2542 (2019/20)


Robin Burrow

Robin Burrow

Senior Lecturer in Organization Studies

Martin Kitchener

Martin Kitchener

Professor of Public Sector Management and Policy