The Westminster Parliament is multifaceted, lacks cohesion and collective direction, appearing at times to challenge the very notion of a structured public institution itself…
The Westminster Parliament is multifaceted, lacks cohesion and collective direction, appearing at times to challenge the very notion of a structured public institution itself. Within an environment with little collective identity, understanding who leads in the UK Parliament is challenging; there are multiple, contestable sites of leadership and governance. The purpose of this article is to explore the understudied concept of legislative leadership, to better understand what goes on inside the legislature. The author presents a decentred and nuanced disaggregation of “leadership as practice” in parliament, examining three faces of legislative leadership.
Interpretive approaches to studying legislatures have presented new impetus to research in this area and the author utilises such anti-foundationalism. The article draws on ethnographic research into “everyday practices”, conducted during an academic fellowship in the UK Parliament from 2016 to 2019, which involved privileged access to the parliamentary estate. The data used include observations, shadowing and elite interviews collected during the fellowship.
By looking at the legislature from the inside, the author can better understand elite behaviour. This helps to explain motives, daily pressures and performative skills deployed in displays of autonomous, decentred leadership. The legislative leadership the author observed was atomised and could be stretched to accommodate the incumbent office holder. There were multiple relationships both formally constituted and informally constructed, but little collaborative or consensus leadership.
This article fulfils an identified need to study leadership in legislatures – and in particular key elites – from the inside.
This article sets out a new research agenda for decentered public leadership. Nested in the concept of decentered theory, it examines the messy and contested nature of public…
This article sets out a new research agenda for decentered public leadership. Nested in the concept of decentered theory, it examines the messy and contested nature of public leadership practices in different contexts. Drawing on recent empirical studies that have adopted a decentered approach to examining public leadership, it sets out a future research agenda that places individuals, history and context at the heart of explanations for public leadership in action.
Nancy J. Adler (USA), Sonja A. Sackmann (Switzerland), Sharon Arieli (Israel), Marufa (Mimi) Akter (Bangladesh), Christoph Barmeyer (Germany), Cordula Barzantny (France), Dan V. Caprar (Australia and New Zealand), Yih-teen Lee (Taiwan), Leigh Anne Liu (China), Giovanna Magnani (Italy), Justin Marcus (Turkey), Christof Miska (Austria), Fiona Moore (United Kingdom), Sun Hyun Park (South Korea), B. Sebastian Reiche (Spain), Anne-Marie Søderberg (Denmark and Sweden), Jeremy Solomons (Rwanda) and Zhi-Xue Zhang (China)
The COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic meltdown and social unrest severely challenged most countries, their societies, economies, organizations, and individual citizens…
The COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic meltdown and social unrest severely challenged most countries, their societies, economies, organizations, and individual citizens. Focusing on both more and less successful country-specific initiatives to fight the pandemic and its multitude of related consequences, this chapter explores implications for leadership and effective action at the individual, organizational, and societal levels. As international management scholars and consultants, the authors document actions taken and their wide-ranging consequences in a diverse set of countries, including countries that have been more or less successful in fighting the pandemic, are geographically larger and smaller, are located in each region of the world, are economically advanced and economically developing, and that chose unique strategies versus strategies more similar to those of their neighbors. Cultural influences on leadership, strategy, and outcomes are described for 19 countries. Informed by a cross-cultural lens, the authors explore such urgent questions as: What is most important for leaders, scholars, and organizations to learn from critical, life-threatening, society-encompassing crises and grand challenges? How do leaders build and maintain trust? What types of communication are most effective at various stages of a crisis? How can we accelerate learning processes globally? How does cultural resilience emerge within rapidly changing environments of fear, shifting cultural norms, and profound challenges to core identity and meaning? This chapter invites readers and authors alike to learn from each other and to begin to discover novel and more successful approaches to tackling grand challenges. It is not definitive; we are all still learning.
For many, the claim that a new approach to bureaucracy—new political governance (NPG)—is underway reads as if it was written by Stephen King: Frightening fiction. While the…
For many, the claim that a new approach to bureaucracy—new political governance (NPG)—is underway reads as if it was written by Stephen King: Frightening fiction. While the thought of promiscuously partisan senior public servants publicly defending and promoting the government’s reputation to the demise of impartiality is disturbing, the evidentiary record has led most to dismiss the idea as empirically false. This article questions, and empirically investigates, whether dismissing the idea of promiscuous partisanship has been premature.
A case study of the loyalty displayed by Canada’s most senior public servant during a highly publicized parliamentary committee is analysed with a novel theoretical and empirical approach in three steps. First, the Clerk of the Privy Council (Clerk)’s committee testimony is analysed against analytical constructs of impartial and promiscuous partisan loyalty that focuses on the testimony’s direction and substance. Second, the objectivity and truthfulness of the testimony is analysed by comparing what was publicly claimed to have occurred against evidence submitted to the committee that provids an independent record of events. Third, the perception the Clerk’s testimony had on some committee members, political journalists and members of the public is analysed through print media and committee Hansard.
While the Clerk’s testimony displays an awareness of upholding impartiality, it also comprises promiscuous partisanship. Throughout his testimony, the Clerk redirects from the line of questioning to defend and promote the sitting government’s reputation. Moreover, to defend and promote the government’s reputation the Clerk’s testimony moved away from objectivity and engaged in truth-obfuscating tactics. Finally, the nature of the Clerk’s testimony was perceived by some committee members and the public—including former senior public servants—as having abandoned impartiality to have become a public “cheerleader” of the government.
Employing an in-depth case study limits the extent to which the findings concerning the presence of promiscuously partisan loyalty can be generalized beyond the present case to the larger cadre of senior public servants.
Empirically, while most research has dismissed claims of promiscuous partisanship as empirically unfounded, this article provides what is possibly the strongest empirical case to date of a public incident of promiscuous partisanship at the apex of the bureaucracy. As such, scholars can no longer dismiss NPG as an interesting idea without much empirical leverage. Theoretically, this article adds further caution to Aucoin’s original narrative of NPG by suggesting that promiscuous partisanship might not only involve senior public servants defending and promoting the government, but that doing so may push them to engage in truth-obfuscating tactics, and therein, weaken the public’s confidence in political institutions. The novel theoretical and empirical approach to studying senior public servants’ parliamentary testimony can be used by scholars in other settings to expand the empirical study of bureaucratic loyalty.