Dr Joy Furnival

Honorary Lecturer (Teaching & Research)

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Joy has over 23 years experience working and researching with organisations, teams and leaders to improve within health, care and industry.  Joy is particularly interested in different leadership and improvement theories and how they are applied in practice, through approaches such as lean and 'QI'.  Joy takes a keen interest in the development of leadership and improvement across and within organisations and healthcare systems.  Her doctoral thesis, funded by the national healthcare charity, the Health Foundation, examined the role of regulation and improvement practices within organisations in healthcare and how these could be strengthened further through the assessment and development of improvement capability to improve healthcare quality and performance.

Joy has published work in a number of journals and books, and research interests include: lean and quality improvement in the public sector and the NHS; the practice of Toyota Kata, the assessment and development of improvement capability and improvement culture and the role of external national bodies in creating improvement in public services.

Prior to her academic role in leadership development, Joy studied engineering at the University of Durham and she is a Chartered Engineer.  Joy has worked for several organisations including ICI, ABB, PPG, and nationally for NHS Blood and Transplant  as well as a number of NHS Trusts.  Most latterly Joy worked in healthcare policy and strategy for NHS England/NHS Improvement nationally developing and delivering leadership and improvement programmes for NHS Trust boards and organisations.  

Joy is a Health Foundation Fellow and graduate of their flagship Generation Q senior leadership programme and is also an alumni of the national NHS Gateway to Leadership programme and an active member of the national NHS 'Q' community and network for healthcare improvement. 

Joy is a Trust board member for the Bishop Fraser multi-academy schools Trust in Bolton, UK.


External positions

Quality Improvement Adviser, NHS Improvement

27 Feb 201731 Aug 2019


  • Improvement, Lean, Quality improvement, Improvement capability, Healthcare, Performance, Quality Control, TQM, Improvement science, Leadership

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2017 - Doctor of Philosophy, Regulation for improvement? , The University of Manchester (2013 - 2017)
  • 2012 - Master of Leadership (Quality Improvement), Ashridge (2010 - 2012)
  • 2004 - Chartered Engineer Status, Institute of Engineering and Technology
  • 1997 - Master of Engineering Science, University of Durham (1993 - 1997)

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