Leadership in the Public Sector: Promises and Pitfalls (Hardback) book cover

Leadership in the Public Sector

Promises and Pitfalls

Edited by Christine Teelken, Ewan Ferlie, Mike Dent

© 2012 – Routledge

262 pages

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In view of the approaching age of austerity for the public sector, leadership is likely to continue to become a key theme. This edited volume brings together a host of material from the public sector to analyze the issue internationally.

Teelken, Dent & Ferlie lead a team of contributors in examining three key aspects of this increasingly important theme:

  • the meaning of public sector leadership, and how this changes in different contexts
  • the implications for leadership style given the growing role of the private sector
  • the response to the leadership issue from professionals moving into senior management roles.

With contributions from respected academics such as Jean-Louis Denis, Mike Reed and Mirko Nordegraaf, this book will be an invaluable supplementary resource for those undertaking studies across public sector management and administration.


'This edited book on leadership in the public sector will undoubtedly be well-thumbed, rather than sit on my book shelf, for both research and teaching purposes. It covers a wide expanse of theoretical and empirical ground, and remains academically rigorous and practically relevant in so doing. It offers: comparison across domains of the public sector, and internationally; encompasses individual, group, organizational and system level analysis; integrates policy and management concerns; is inter-disciplinary in its orientation. I, for one, will be citing its contents in my research publications.'

Graeme Currie, Professor of Public Management, Warwick Business School UK

Everyone involved in this wonderful book takes the idea and practice of leadership seriously, developing useful theory through close observation of what people do in organizations. The public sector context is important but not defining, enabling the contributions to speak to all involved in leading. Above all it challenges those who cry ‘we need more leadership’ whenever there is a public sector organizational problem. I’m sure it will become a key text in universities and in government departments around the world.

Dr Scott Taylor, Reader in Organizational Behaviour, School of Business & Economics, Loughborough University UK

Table of Contents

Introduction: Overview and Conceptualisations (Christine Teelken) Part I: The Meaning of the Public Sector Leadership and its Changing Forms 2. 'Leaderism' and the Discourse of Leadership in the Reformation of UK Public Services (Dermot O'Reilly and Mike Reed) 3. Leading Transformation in the Public Delivery Systems: A Political Perspective (Damien Contandriopoulos and Jean-Louis Denis) 4. Respond and Deliver? Change Leadership in Complex Organizations (Louise Fitzgerald, Ewan Ferlie, Gerry McGivern and David Buchanan) Part II: Leadership Style in the Public Services 5. After Privatisation: The Public Management of Private Employment Services (Nicolette Van Gestel) 6. Medical Leadership and Management Reforms in Hospitals: A Comparative Study (Mike Dent, Ian Kirkpatrick and Indy Neogy) 7. Quality Development and Professional Autonomy in Modern Hospital Fields (Peter Kraugh Jespersen) Part III: Leadership and Public Sector Professionals 8. Universities under New Labour: Senior Leaders' Responses to Government Reforms and Policy Levers- findings from an ESRC project on public service leadership (Rosemary Deem) 9. Academic Leadership and its Effects on Professional Autonomy (Christine Teelken) 10. The University and the Public and Private Good (Jϋrgen Enders) 11. The Making of Professional Public Leaders: Leadership as Practical Myth (Mirko Noordegraaf) 12. Concluding Discussion: Paradigms and Instruments of Public Management Reform- The Question of Agency (Ewan Ferlie)

About the Editors

Christine Teelken is Associate Professor of Organization Science at VU Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Ewan Ferlie is Professor of Management at King's College London, UK

Mike Dent is Professor of Health Care Organization at Staffordshire University, UK

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Nonprofit Organizations & Charities