International Challenges and Perspectives
Edited by Jeffrey A. Raffel, Peter Leisink and Anthony E. Middlebrooks
Marc Holzer and Iryna Illiash Do we need a new leadership paradigm for the public sector, bureaucratic and political? For the last several decades the sentiment in the USA and Europe has been largely antigovernment. This is expressed not only as distrust of government and an antipathy to large bureaucracies but as a rush to privatization and contracting-out as well as calls for smaller government, greater efficiency and accountability. Distrust of, and disappointment in, government underscores a collective desire for more effective leadership. Such frustration has spawned many theories of leadership. But according to Stillman (2006), more than seventy abundant years of leadership studies in political science, history, philosophy, psychology and other academic disciplines has failed to produce a ‘school of leadership with a single unifying theory’ (p. 106). Lacking that agreement the dominant (or ‘default’) paradigm in the US public’s mind – and from the viewpoint of their elected and media surrogates – is that of the ‘strong’ leader who will set things right. The 2008 American presidential campaign certainly projected that image from the very top of the governance hierarchy. At the bureaucratic level, although new views on leadership are continually being proposed in the literature of practice and theory – from transformational and servant leadership to group leadership and leadership of organizational culture – the Weberian model is still dominant. On the business side an ongoing economic crisis has generated calls for equally strong leaders who can turn failing corporations, such as General Motors, toward profitability. The search for efficacious leadership...
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