Between a rock and a hard place : what do public sector leaders learn from the past as they lead into the future

Flynn, Christine & Thompson, Robert M. (2012) Between a rock and a hard place : what do public sector leaders learn from the past as they lead into the future. In 16th Annual Conference of the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM XVI): Contradictions in Public Management Managing in Volatile Times, 11 – 13 April, Rome, Italy.

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The purpose of this paper is to bring leadership context into sharper focus and to suggest there are strong constraints on public leaders’ discretion to lead in ways consistent with NPM or NPL. Much of the existing public leadership research focuses on the individual leader and tends to give little attention to the influence of context. This lack of focus on leader context adversely affects our ability to build public leadership capacity. We draw on prior research to establish that (1) there are strong contextual constraints on public leaders’ capacity to lead in ways consistent with NPL, (2) public leaders are subject to contradictory messages and for the most part these contradictions are unacknowledged and unresolved, the impact of which is confusion and informal power-politics, (3) the task of leader transition from traditional leadership to new public leadership is very much underestimated and requires a new way to think about leadership development. On the basis of this analysis, we argue that public leaders find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

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ID Code: 52816
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Leadership, Context, Public Sector, Leadership Development
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Behaviour (150311)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Public Administration (160509)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 (please consult the author).
Deposited On: 30 Jul 2012 00:13
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2012 04:58

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