Recent scandals in the health and social care emphasize the need to gain a better understanding of ethics, resistance and leadership in this sector. The Francis enquiry into Mid-Staffordshire Hospital NHS Trust mortality rates found shortcomings in the “care, compassion and humanity” shown by staff towards patients (Francis, 2013). If health professionals had resisted reforms that resulted in corruption to care practices then this and other scandals may not have occurred. However, the author argues that much healthy resistance in organisations often languishes under the radar or occasionally surfaces in whistle blowing scandals that can be damaging to all parties. The author illustrates a way to detect potentially helpful resistance in order to prevent or reduce the impact of such practice scandals. A dramatic lens (Czarniawska, 1997) and a critical perspective from MacIntyre’s (1985) virtue ethics offer a view toward the ideological horizons reflected in practice dilemmas. The author argues that new understandings of "ethical resistance" offered through these dramatic and critical lenses include a reframing to appreciate the social innovation potential. A potential realized through providing early warning signals of practice corruptions and in mobilizing resistance in service of protecting standards of healthcare from the corrupting influences of money, status and power.
Keywords: Leadership, ethics, resistance, whistleblowing, MacIntyre, ethical resistance