Leadership in Public Organizations : An Introduction book cover
3rd Edition

Leadership in Public Organizations
An Introduction

ISBN 9780765647023
Published March 1, 2017 by Routledge
448 Pages 91 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Now in a completely revised and updated Third Edition, Leadership in Public Organizations provides a compact but complete analysis of leadership for students and practitioners who work in public and nonprofit organizations. Offering a comprehensive review of leadership theories in the field, from the classic to the cutting-edge, and how they relate specifically to the public sector context, this textbook covers the major competency clusters in detail, supported by research findings as well as practical guidelines for improvement. These competencies are graphically portrayed in a leadership action cycle that aids readers in visually connecting theory and practice. Including questions for discussion and analysis and hypothetical scenarios for each chapter, as well as an easily reproducible leadership assessment instrument students may use to apply the theories they’ve learned, this Third Edition also explores:

  • The rise of e-leadership, or the relationship between leadership and information and communication technologies, as well as the role leaders play in selecting those technologies
  • The challenges of nonprofit management leadership, including an extensive case study designed to illustrate the differences between public and nonprofit sector leadership curricula
  • Separate, dedicated chapters on charismatic and transformational leadership; distributed leadership; ethics-based leadership; and power, world cultures, diversity, gender, complexity, social change, and strategy.

Leadership in Public Organizations is an essential core text designed specifically with upper-level and graduate Public Administration courses on leadership in mind, but it has also proven an indispensable guidebook for professionals seeking insight into the role of successful leadership behavior in the public sector. It can further be used as supplementary reading in introductory courses examining management competencies, in leadership classes to provide practical self-help and improvement models, and in Organizational Theory classes that wish to balance organizational perspectives with individual development.

Table of Contents

 About the Author


Chapter One: Introduction

Part 1: Theories and Approaches to Leadership

Chapter Two: Understanding Theories of Leadership and Leadership Styles

Chapter Three: Early Management, Trait, Stratified Systems, and Transactional Theories of Leadership

Chapter Four: Charismatic and Transformational Approaches

Chapter Five: Distributed Approaches to Leadership

Chapter Six: Ethics-Based Leadership Theories

Chapter Seven: Leadership Approaches Focusing on Influence, Attribution, and a Changing Environment

Chapter Eight: Competency-Based Leadership Approaches

Chapter Nine: Traits That Contribute to Leader Effectiveness

Part 2: Applied Leadership Competencies

Chapter Ten: Skills That Contribute to Leader Effectiveness

Chapter Eleven: Assessments by Leaders and the Goals to Which They Lead

Chapter Twelve: Task-Oriented Behaviors

Chapter Thirteen: People-Oriented Behaviors

Chapter Fourteen: Organization-Oriented Behaviors

Chapter Fifteen: Leadership Development and Evaluation



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Montgomery Van Wart is Professor in the Department of Public Administration at California State University, San Bernardino.

Paul Suino is a long-time reviewer and editor of public administration materials.


"I have used the second edition of this book in my course on public managers and leadership; however, this edition is even better. The implications for leadership in a public or nonprofit context are well illustrated, and the included leadership assessment instrument is very helpful for students doing assignments and relevant for practitioners who want to improve their leadership skills."

Prof. Dr. Bram Steijn, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

"Many public and nonprofit managers believe that they know leadership ‘when they see it.’ They are wrong. As Van Wart argues, the chemistry of leadership is often oversimplified. Instead, he offers a very thorough—and very readable—analysis of successful leadership, written to unusual depth. As a basis for self-study, experiential learning or formal training, Leadership in Public Organizations, 3e is a necessary volume in any aspiring leader’s library, an indispensable tool in their public or nonprofit toolbox, and an essential link in their organization’s chain of success."

Marc Holzer, Rutgers University -Newark, USA