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Developing public service leaders: elite orchestration, change agency, leaderism, and neoliberalization

Wallace, Mike ORCID:, Reed, Michael ORCID:, O'Reilly, Dermot, Tomlinson, Michael, Morris, Jonathan ORCID: and Deem, Rosemary 2022. Developing public service leaders: elite orchestration, change agency, leaderism, and neoliberalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780199552108.001.0001

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This book examines why and how governments and representative bodies for senior staff in public service organizations have mounted major interventions over the past two decades to develop senior staff as leaders. A critical explanation is developed of the foundational contribution made by national leadership development interventions in the 2000s to the emergence, proliferation, and normalization of leadership development provision. The authors carried out qualitative research in England, investigating the national leadership development interventions for school education, healthcare, and higher education. Political elites in government were concerned with acculturating senior staff to act as conduits for the implementation of regulated marketization reforms furthering the neoliberalization of public services, rendering them more business-like. Representative bodies for senior staff and participants in the provision were concerned to enhance individual capability and prospects for career advancement, rendering public service leadership more professional. Senior officials responsible for operating the interventions moderately subverted the interventions by focusing on generic leading activity. Senior staff were scarcely acculturated as government change agents but were acculturated towards complying with government-set performance standards and targets within its accountability regime. The authors explored the contemporary legacy of these interventions within the growing international movement to develop senior staff in public service organizations as leaders, comparing interventions in the United States of America (USA), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and England. They conclude that leadership development has widely acculturated senior staff as leaders, though not necessarily committed to acting as government change agents. Leadership development makes a diffuse contribution towards the ongoing neoliberalization of public services.

Item Type: Book
Book Type: Authored Book
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199552108
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 16:24

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