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Leadership and public financial management reforms in Jamaica

Sonia D. Gatchair (University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 27 September 2018

Issue publication date: 19 October 2018




The purpose of this paper is to assess the utility of complex adaptive leadership to public financial management reforms in Jamaica and provide insights to advance theoretical perspectives on leadership in public organizations.


The study is qualitative and adopts a case study approach with data collected using document analyses and interviews.


The study highlights that leaders need to both drive and respond to directional forces and environmental pressures, which require them to balance or oscillate between leader and follower roles, and even demonstrate both simultaneously in order to achieve change successfully.

Practical implications

In developing states faced with technical and adaptive challenges, the inputs of followers assume greater importance as they are integral to innovation and flexibility needed for problem solving. Communication, negotiation, bargaining and teamwork are critical skills that must be included in the repertoire of leadership and followership training.


The study connects leadership to pubic finance, fiscal decision-making, and reforms to public fiscal systems in a small developing state, Jamaica. The paper highlights that increased attention to the context is necessary, especially in participatory democracies, which demand responsiveness to powerful or influential interests, reduce autonomy and give rise to unclear organizational boundaries and hierarchies. It establishes a nexus between adaptive leadership and social identity theories, which demonstrate the emergence, contribution, and importance of group identities to distributed leadership. The roles of leadership and followership can interchange, which increases the fluidity and dynamism of the leadership process.



Gatchair, S.D. (2018), "Leadership and public financial management reforms in Jamaica", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 297-308.



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