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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2009

Maja Husar Holmes

The pillars of public administration rest on balancing the triumvirate of traditions, managerial, political, and legal, in developing and implementing public policy. The…

Abstract

The pillars of public administration rest on balancing the triumvirate of traditions, managerial, political, and legal, in developing and implementing public policy. The normative concept of leadership has consistently surfaced as an important dimension in the policy process. However, scholarship exploring the importance and relevance of leadership in public administration has been sporadic and limited in scope. This article elucidates the disconnect between the study of leadership and public administration. To validate the relevance of leadership in public administration, future empirical studies must embrace the long-view, heuristic inquiry, and the lifecycle of leadership.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article
Publication date: 31 December 2009

Roger Gill

Recent criticism of the UK's public sector has rekindled the debate about public service leadership in comparison with the private sector, particularly in the context of…

Abstract

Recent criticism of the UK's public sector has rekindled the debate about public service leadership in comparison with the private sector, particularly in the context of the financial austerity we face for years ahead. This article first reviews recent research on leadership and compares the public and private sectors, finding both commonalities and differences. The article then considers the kind of leadership required of public service leaders in the present economic climate and to handle crises and emergencies. The place of individual leadership and collective leadership and consensus is discussed, with a suggestion that charismatic individual leadership may play a more important role in the public sector than it typically has done in less turbulent times in the past. The public sector is becoming more like the private sector in this respect. The article ends with key implications of the analysis for leadership in practice.

Details

International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-9886

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2021

Yen Thi Tran, Nguyen Phong Nguyen and Trang Cam Hoang

By drawing on the institutional theory and contingency theory, this study aims to examine the effects of leadership and accounting capacity on the quality of financial…

Abstract

Purpose

By drawing on the institutional theory and contingency theory, this study aims to examine the effects of leadership and accounting capacity on the quality of financial reporting and accountability of public organisations in Vietnam. Furthermore, this paper is to determine the impact of financial reporting quality on accountability.

Design/methodology/approach

The research model and hypotheses have been tested by partial least squares structural equation modeling, with 177 survey samples obtained from accountants and managers working in the public sector in Vietnam.

Findings

The research results indicate that leadership and accounting capacity have a positive effect on financial reporting quality; leadership and accounting capacity positively influence accountability; and the quality of financial reporting has a positive impact on accountability.

Research limitations/implications

The research results provide empirical evidence of the direct impact of leadership and accounting capacity on financial reporting quality and accountability of public organisations in a developing country. Moreover, the current work also provides important evidence for the impact of financial reporting quality on accountability.

Practical implications

Public sector organisations must realise that leadership and accounting capacity play a vital role in the accounting reform process. Public institutions likewise need to pay attention to develop accounting capacity and promote leadership. Moreover, the results respond to the continuing call for increased citizen trust in public organisations.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to examine the chain from leadership, accounting capacity, financial reporting quality and accountability in the context of public sector organisations in an Asian transition market.

Details

Journal of Asia Business Studies, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1558-7894

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Article
Publication date: 24 December 2020

Christian Bøtcher Jacobsen and Heidi Houlberg Salomonsen

Leadership can cultivate shared understandings of goals within organizations. Transformational leaders engage in vision-sharing, whereas transactional leaders apply…

Abstract

Purpose

Leadership can cultivate shared understandings of goals within organizations. Transformational leaders engage in vision-sharing, whereas transactional leaders apply contingent rewards and sanctions. To set the stage for better performing organizations, public managers could lead in ways to improve the communication that flows internally in public organizations, defined as the internal communication performance. Previous studies have linked transformational leadership with internal communication performance in public organizations, but no studies have considered the broader array of leadership strategies and their combination. The purpose of this study is to assess the strength of the relationship between different forms of leadership (transformational and transactional) and internal communication.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a balanced panel dataset of 751 employees.

Findings

The analysis corroborates the existing findings of a relationship between transformational and internal communication, and it identifies a relationship between transactional leadership through verbal rewards and internal communication.

Originality/value

In so doing, the study brings new insights to our understanding of how leaders in public organizations can improve the internal communication in their organizations, which has been linked to, among others, how employees themselves perceive the red tape and performance within public organizations.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2020

Tim A. Mau

The public administration literature on representative bureaucracy identifies several advantages from having a diverse public service workforce, but it has not explicitly…

Abstract

Purpose

The public administration literature on representative bureaucracy identifies several advantages from having a diverse public service workforce, but it has not explicitly focused on leadership. For its part, the public sector leadership literature has largely ignored the issue of gender. The purpose of this paper is to rectify these limitations by advancing the argument that having a representative bureaucracy is fundamentally a leadership issue. Moreover, it assesses the extent to which representativeness has been achieved in the Canadian federal public service.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper begins with a discussion of the importance of a representative bureaucracy for democratic governance. In the next section, the case is made that representativeness is fundamentally intertwined with the concept of administrative leadership. Then, the article provides an interpretive case study analysis of the federal public service in Canada, which is the global leader in terms of women's representation in public service leadership positions.

Findings

The initial breakthrough for gender representation in the Canadian federal public service was 1995. From that point onward, the proportion of women in the core public administration exceeded workforce availability. However, women continued to be modestly under-represented among the senior leadership cadre throughout the early 2000s. The watershed moment for gender representation in the federal public service was 2011 when the number of women in the executive group exceeded workforce availability for the first time. Significant progress toward greater representativeness in the other target groups has also been made but ongoing vigilance is required.

Research limitations/implications

The study only determines the passive representation of women in the Public Service of Canada and is not able to comment on the extent to which women are substantively represented in federal policy outcomes.

Originality/value

The paper traces the Canadian federal government's progress toward achieving gender representation over time, while commenting on the extent to which the public service reflects broader diversity. In doing so, it explicitly links representation to leadership, which the existing literature fails to do, by arguing that effective administrative leadership is contingent upon having a diverse public service. Moreover, it highlights the importance of gender for public sector leadership, which hitherto has been neglected.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

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Article
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Brad Jackson

The purpose of this paper is to foreground place as a critical and central concern for public leadership research, development and practice.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to foreground place as a critical and central concern for public leadership research, development and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

This invited essay draws on the author’s own research and development work engaging in collaborative place-based interventions with academics, policy makers and practitioners.

Findings

Place is one of six heuristic lenses in a Leadership Hexad that has been developed to interrogate and better understand leadership in a multi-dimensional manner. Place can provide an important theoretical and practical fulcrum for bridging both collaborative governance and collective leadership and public and political leadership as well as facilitating cross-sectoral leadership.

Practical implications

This essay argues that more time and effort should be invested into researching and developing place leadership to complement the already extensive efforts to promote collaborative governance and place-based policy initiatives. Place leadership development should be genuinely cross-sectoral in its ambition and should focus on developing emerging and established leaders from the public, private, not-for-profit and indigenous sectors to tackle place-based problems and opportunities.

Originality/value

This essay draws on experience undertaking academic research and conducting leadership development that draws from and feeds into policy and practice. It utilises research from geography, leadership studies, public management, public policy and political science to gain a more sophisticated understanding of the relationship between place and public leadership and how this can be harnessed to improve economic and social impact.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

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Article
Publication date: 17 January 2020

Fahad Shakeel, Peter Mathieu Kruyen and Sandra Van Thiel

The purpose of this paper is to offer a review of the selected literature in ethical leadership synthesizing findings from 45 articles selected from journals on leadership

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer a review of the selected literature in ethical leadership synthesizing findings from 45 articles selected from journals on leadership, public administration, organizational behavior, psychology and ethics.

Design/methodology/approach

Four themes are addressed: the conceptualization of ethical leadership theories, the existence of popular measurement instruments for ethical leadership, findings on ethical leadership in the public sector and outcomes of ethical leadership in terms of benefits and negative consequences.

Findings

The definition by Brown et al. (2005) is the most frequently used definition, even though recent criticism states that this definition may be too narrow. Ethical leadership is usually measured by means of a survey; however, there are at least three different questionnaires in use. In the public sector, ethical leadership has been linked to both positive outcomes and negative consequences.

Research limitations/implications

This paper only includes selected academic articles and does not include published books.

Originality/value

Based on our findings, the authors present recommendations for future research, among others into a broader conceptualization of ethical leadership and the use of mixed methods.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

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Article
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Esme Franken and Geoff Plimmer

Leadership matters in public contexts. It influences employee development and, in turn, the effective delivery of public services. Harmful leadership limits the fulfilment…

Abstract

Purpose

Leadership matters in public contexts. It influences employee development and, in turn, the effective delivery of public services. Harmful leadership limits the fulfilment of both these requirements. Although there are many studies of public leadership, few explore aspects of poor leadership focusing on leading people, in the unique public sector context. The purpose of this paper is to explore the public sector environment as one that can enable harmful leadership, and identifies what those aspects of harmful behaviours are. In particular, it focuses on common, day-to-day forms of harmful mediocre leadership rather than more dramatic, but rarer, forms of destructive or toxic leadership.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was conducted over three phases. In study one (N=10) interviews using the critical incident technique identified harmful behaviours. Study two (N=10) identified perceived causal processes and outcomes of these processes. Study three was a validation check using two focus groups (n=7) and two further interviews (n=6).

Findings

Four dimensions of harmful behaviour were found: micromanagement, managing up but not down, low social and career support and reactive leadership. Several pathways to harm were found, including lessened employee confidence, motivation, collaboration, learning and development.

Research limitations/implications

This research is limited by a small sample and data collected in one public sector system. But its implications are still meaningful. The research identified some ways that harmful leadership can occur, that is missed in existing studies of harmful leadership, which tend to focus on more toxic forms of harm. The role of NPM and other reforms as important shapers of current leadership behaviours are also discussed.

Practical implications

To address these behaviours further investment in leadership development, selection and performance management is recommended.

Social implications

Social implications include the hindering of effective service delivery and limited ability to deal with increasingly dynamic and complicated problem.

Originality/value

Public sector leadership studies are often rose tinted, or describe what should be. Instead, this paper describes what sometimes is, in terms of day-to-day mediocre but harmful leadership.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2008

Smita Tripathi and John Dixon

At the heart of any public‐sector reform discourse are the conflicting contentions about what constitutes good public leadership. The battles fought ‐ and to be fought …

Abstract

At the heart of any public‐sector reform discourse are the conflicting contentions about what constitutes good public leadership. The battles fought ‐ and to be fought ‐ over public‐sector reform are over the appropriate role of the state. These contending perspectives are the traditional hierarchical model and the neo‐liberal managerialist model of public administration. The aspiration to build a responsive and cost‐effective public sector that appropriately balances public and private interests inevitably confronts the challenge of how best to impose neo‐liberal managerialist values and practices onto a hierarchical politico‐administrative system, grounded on the premise that the state is best placed to determine, protect and promote the public interest, without inevitably creating a counter‐productive paradoxical public‐management environment. In this public‐sector reform scenario, it is necessary to foster a form of leadership ‐ both political and organisational ‐ that demands of itself that it be capable of perpetual adaption in the face of ambiguity and which change. That is a great deal to ask of both shrewd politicians and consummate bureaucrats.

Details

International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-9886

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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2018

Frank L.K. Ohemeng, Emelia Amoako-Asiedu and Theresa Obuobisa Darko

The purpose of this paper is to advance critical theoretical insights into the idea of “relational bureaucratic leadership” and its implications for public administration…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advance critical theoretical insights into the idea of “relational bureaucratic leadership” and its implications for public administration in developing countries (DCs). In doing so, the paper sets out new agendas for public service governance in DCs that recognizes the changing nature and emerging complexities of both the public service and society.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an exploratory study which synthesises literature in management, human resources, leadership studies and public administration, to understand the limitations of mainstream approaches to bureaucratic leadership in DCs, particularly SSA, with a view of identifying alternative practices.

Findings

Findings from this paper suggest that public service governance in DCs are embedded in complex dynamics between power relations, complexity and social norms, and bureaucratic leaders should, therefore, focus on building relationships as a means of deepening trust and enhancing cooperation among critical actors. The case for a shift in focus to “relationality” reflects changes in the broader global political economy, including emerging wicked and multi-faceted policy problems that require heterodox and context-sensitive responses from governments and greater collaboration among key stakeholders.

Originality/value

The analysis of the limitations of traditional approaches to public service governance in this essay reveals the importance of a shift from a preoccupation with conventional organizational forms and functions, to place greater emphasis on social networks and relationships, as a way of improving leadership efficiency in the public services of DCs.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

Keywords

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