Table of Contents

Public Sector Leadership

Public Sector Leadership

International Challenges and Perspectives

Edited by Jeffrey A. Raffel, Peter Leisink and Anthony E. Middlebrooks

The authors of this book define the issues facing public authorities and organizations in a range of developed nations as they address the challenges of the 21st century. They examine an array of ways leaders across these nations are addressing these challenges. The result is a comprehensive analysis of ways to improve leadership in the public sector and of the role of political and administrative leaders in shaping the future of the public sector. The overriding question addressed by this volume is how public leadership across the globe addresses new challenges (e.g., security, financial, demographic), new expectations of leaders (e.g., New Public Management, multi-sector service provision), and what leadership means in the new public sector.

Chapter 12: Leadership in the Unglued Organization

Patricia Wallace Ingraham

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, public management, politics and public policy, leadership, public administration and management, public policy


Patricia Wallace Ingraham Despite a massive literature devoted to the topic, leadership – its many definitions, its many implications and impacts, its many ‘how to’ manuals, and its many demands – remains a somewhat elusive concept (see the summary, for example, in Alexander and Van Slyke 2006). At the same time, for organizations in all sectors, governments at all levels and the millions of people in those combined workforces, leadership is of fundamental importance. This duality of elusiveness paired with great significance creates problems for organizations throughout the world. In the United States, for example, three-quarters of citizens responded that they believe that public leaders are not prepared to lead in a crisis and are out of touch with the ordinary citizens they serve (Schwab 2007). Bouckaert (2009) concludes that around the world governments require ‘new models for governing and also new types of political, administrative, and citizen leadership.’ Many of the new models of governance, however, create particular dilemmas for leadership. For public sector organizations, which are the primary focus of this chapter, a prominent example of the dilemma is provided by contracting for public sector goods and services. To understand the dilemma more fully it is necessary to view contracting through several lenses. Organization theory literature, leadership literature and public policy literature, for example, all contribute useful perspectives. In combination they can present critical insights into a contemporary leadership dilemma. Even in combination, however, these three do not permit a full understanding, either theoretical or practical, of the dimensions of...

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