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The troubling impact of political interference in Indonesian public sector institutions on ethical leadership credibility

Dedy Eryanto (Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Brawijaya, Malang, Indonesia)
Iris van Eeden Jones (Wellington School of Business and Government - Ōrauariki, Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)
Karin Lasthuizen (Wellington School of Business and Government - Ōrauariki, Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 9 May 2022

Issue publication date: 26 September 2022

335

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigates the impact of political interference on the capacity to combat corruption within Indonesian public sector institutions. It analyses the troubling impact of politicians in strategic leadership positions in public institutions and the impact this has on its ethical leadership credibility.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative multi-method approach was followed. Firstly, media publications were analysed to describe typical cases of corruption by political and public leaders and to evaluate the current state of the country. Secondly, the authors studied the selection and appointment processes for strategic leadership in two types of leading Indonesian public sector institutions based on laws and regulations and critical (media) publications to assess the problem of political interference. Lastly, the authors used insights from 42 face-to-face interviews within one leading public institution to understand the problem of political interference and its impact on ethical leadership credibility in Indonesia.

Findings

When politicians are appointed in strategic leadership positions of public institutions, including CEOs, the board of directors and commissioners, the downside is that such political support causes a conflict of interest that seriously threatens the independent functioning of public institutions and the ethical reputation of the public sector as a whole. The influence of specific Indonesian cultural values and norms only reinforces these ethical challenges in building public sector integrity.

Originality/value

Most empirical studies on ethical leadership focus on middle managers and the impact of ethical leadership on organisational outcomes. In addition, little is yet known about the effectiveness of ethical leadership in developing countries. This study attempts to address this gap and analyses the troubling role of politicians in strategic leadership positions in Indonesia's public institutions and the impact this has on its ethical leadership credibility.

Keywords

Citation

Eryanto, D., van Eeden Jones, I. and Lasthuizen, K. (2022), "The troubling impact of political interference in Indonesian public sector institutions on ethical leadership credibility", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 319-336. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-10-2021-0056

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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