Political Leadership
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Political Leadership

Howard Elcock

Political leadership is a concept central to understanding political processes and outcomes, yet its definition is elusive. Many disciplines have contributed to the study of leadership, including political theory, history, psychology and management studies. Political Leadership reviews the contributions of these disciplines along with a discussion of the work of classic authors such as Niccolo Machiavelli, Max Weber and Robert Michels.
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Chapter 7: The Functions of Leadership: Governance and Allegiance Roles

Howard Elcock


LEADERS AND THE ORGANIZATION’S ENVIRONMENT Governing roles concern how political leaders influence or control the departments and agencies which make up the government of which they have been given charge. They involve the leader’s relations with his or her political colleagues and the paid members of the government’s staff, especially those in senior posts. The second set of roles focuses upon managing the government’s relationships with its external environment, which includes other governments, government agencies, private firms and not-for-profit organizations, as well as lobby groups and citizens. We may regard the relationship between a government and its leaders with the other actors which make up its environment as like a tennis match in which other organizations ‘serve’ their demands into the government’s court. The government’s leaders must then respond with a new policy or decision, which will in its turn generate a further response from the environment. From time to time, leaders will take the initiative by ‘serving’ their own new ideas or policies to the environment’s court and awaiting the response from other governments and agencies, as well as from interest groups and the wider public (Friend and Jessop, 1969). This complex set of relations among organizations is known as governance: R.A.W. Rhodes (1995) describes it as ‘Governing without government’. Government has become increasingly fragmented in a process dubbed ‘hollowing out the state’ by the creation of increasing numbers of single-purpose agencies to carry out specific government functions, as well as by the transfer of public service functions to...

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