Author: Maja Husar Holmes
Focusing the Public Leadership Lens: Research Propositions and Questions in the Minnowbrook Tradition
Although there is no shortage of general studies and theories of leadership, the same cannot be said for public leadership. This concern surfaced as a critical issue among scholars at the 2008 Minnowbrook III conference. Drawing from that discussion, this article calls for invigorating the study of public leadership within public administration (PA). We present the case for public leadership, that is, leadership for the public good, where challenges are complex, stakeholders are many, values are conflicting, and resources are limited. Traditional, generic models of leadership—as in, leading followers toward some specific goal—do not align well with these current challenges. We argue for studying public leadership specifically, rather than trying to retrofit existing concepts of leadership from business management or elective politics. PA should be the leading voice in understanding and promoting public leadership. By examining previous public leadership scholarship through three broad lenses—the character of public leadership, the function of public leadership, and the jurisdiction of public leadership—we develop theoretical propositions designed to drive a revitalized research agenda. We conclude with a set of research questions we see as critical to crystallizing the significance of public leadership.
Heather Getha-Taylor, Maja Husar Holmes, Willow S. Jacobson, Ricardo S. Morse, Jessica E. Sowa, Focusing the Public Leadership Lens: Research Propositions and Questions in the Minnowbrook Tradition, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 21, Issue suppl_1, January 2011, Pages i83–i97, https://doi.org/10.1093/jopart/muq069
This exploratory study surveys the public service leadership literature from a selection of leading public administration journals over a 25‐year period (1987–2012). Patterns in methods used to study public leadership are explored, along with how those methods vary across settings within the public service sector and the treatment of leadership in the analysis. While the number of empirical studies of public service leadership has grown, the diversity of theoretical approaches, methods and measures challenges the ability to synthesize findings in order to advance the knowledge base on this topic. This article provides a map of leadership studies within the field of public administration over time and offers prescriptions for future research.
CHAPMAN, C., GETHA-TAYLOR, H., HOLMES, M., JACOBSON, W., MORSE, R. and SOWA, J. (2015). HOW PUBLIC SERVICE LEADERSHIP IS STUDIED: AN EXAMINATION OF A QUARTER CENTURY OF SCHOLARSHIP. Public Administration, 94(1), pp.111-128.