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Planners as leaders: finding their comfort zone

Bonnie J. Johnson (Urban Planning Program, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 22 June 2018

Issue publication date: 2 July 2018

582

Abstract

Purpose

Planners are expected to leave leadership to elected officials. Yet, they are often asked to do more. Should planners lead? The purpose of this paper is to examine how leadership is seen in the profession and then outline major theories of leadership and planning.

Design/methodology/approach

Using content analysis, the major theories of planning and descriptions of what planners do from professional planning organizations’ codes of ethics from around the world are compared.

Findings

Results indicate that new ways of thinking about leadership (Group leadership, Servant, Adaptive, Authentic and Followership) can help planners find leadership styles that fit their comfort zones better than old leadership definitions emphasizing heroic individuals.

Originality/value

Existing literature regarding leadership in planning indicates that planners must run for office if they are to lead. This examination of planners’ codes of ethics and newer theories of leadership indicates they can be leaders and operate well within current ethical boundaries.

Keywords

Citation

Johnson, B.J. (2018), "Planners as leaders: finding their comfort zone", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 155-178. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-04-2018-0022

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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