Management

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 13
  • Published : March 5, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
DLP

Leaders, Elites and Coalitions

Policy and Practice for Developmental

DEVELOPMENTAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

Background Paper 04

Conceptions of Leadership
Heather Lyne de Ver
March 2009

www.dlprog.org

DLP

Leaders, Elites and Coalitions

Policy and Practice for Developmental

DEVELOPMENTAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international policy initiative informed by targeted research and directed by an independent steering committee. DLP is supported by a global network of partners and currently receives its core funding from the Australian aid program. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Australian Government or any of DLP’s other partner organisations.

3

04
Conceptions of Leadership
Heather Lyne de Ver

Introduction1
There is now a wide recognition in the international community that ‘leadership matters’ for growth and development, just as there was recognition some years ago that ‘institutions matter’.2 But what is ‘leadership’? How is it defined and can there be universal understandings and application of the concept? Leadership is a concept which is often talked about, and which has generated a proliferation of literature, especially in the field of management and organizational science (Jones, 2005: 259). However, despite the almost unanimous agreement on the importance of leadership for the success of private sector organizations and institutions, and the countless works on the concept, “the field of leadership studies has not succeeded in articulating a coherent, paradigm-shifting model or approach that both scholars and practitioners can accept and work with” (Ibid., 259). There is no unanimity as to what ‘leadership’ means. This brief survey sets out a representative sample of some of the ways in which ‘leadership’ has been defined from within a number of very different disciplines and approaches. It concludes with a preliminary working definition of ‘leadership’ in a developmental context. As will be apparent from what follows, the study of leadership has largely been dominated by scholars and practitioners working in management and organizational science, psychology and other related disciplines (Lyne de Ver, 2008), but has hardly been a central concern of political scientists (Peele, 2005), economists or development theorists. As such, many of the conceptions of leadership in the literature are Western-oriented, universalist or individualistic, and there are few conceptions which either incorporate a political understanding of leadership as a process or which have developmental salience. Moreover, apart from the many recent claims about the importance of leadership for growth and development, there has been little serious analysis of what this means in practice (and how it can be enhanced or supported) in the very often unstable, hybrid and evolving institutional contexts which characterise the condition of many developing countries. The work of the Leaders, Elites and Coalitions Research programme (LECRP)3 has as one of its basic assumptions that ‘leadership’ needs to be understood politically, that is as a political process, which involves at least three critical aspects. 1. Leadership implies the organization or mobilization of people and resources (economic, political and other) in pursuit of particular ends. 1 2 This paper was originally written and published under the auspices of the first phase of this work, then called the Leaders, Elites and Coalitions Research Program (LECRP). See the recent report of The Commission on Growth and Development (2008),The Growth Report. Strategies for sustained growth and inclusive development (Washington, The World Bank), and report of The Transatlantic Taskforce on Development (2009) Toward a Brighter Future. A transatlantic call for renewed leadership and partnerships in global development (Washington, DC., The German...
tracking img