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New book on developing public service leaders

5 January 2023

A book cover, blue with graphics of fish on it with the text, Developing Public Service Leaders.

Cardiff Business School professors are co-authors of a newly published book, Developing Public Service Leaders: elite orchestration, change agency, leaderism, and neoliberalization.

The book examines why and how governments and representative bodies supporting staff in public service organisations have mounted major interventions over the last two decades to develop senior staff as leaders.

Published by Oxford University Press, the book is by academics working at universities across the UK. Cardiff Business School co-authors involved are; Mike Wallace, Professor of Public Management, Michael Reed, Professor of Organisational Analysis and Jonathan Morris, Professor of Organisational Analysis.

The book is the first critical investigation of large-scale leadership development interventions to build greater capacity for public service leadership. It includes findings from a major qualitative research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

It also features a contemporary comparison between major leadership development interventions for healthcare and education in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and England.

Mike Wallace, Professor of Public Management at Cardiff University, says:

“Amongst key findings reported in the book are that:

  • UK government politicians sought to sustain the co-operation of senior staff in public service organisations, because the government depended on them to put into practice its regulated marketisation reforms.
  • Governmental investment in national leadership development interventions was directed towards acculturating senior staff in public service organisations as leaders, committed to acting as the government’s agents in spearheading the translation of reform policies into practice.
  • But this provision was relatively ineffective for acculturation, failing to overlay the existing service professional culture of participants, yet they valued the record of participating as a source of credentials for their individual career advancement, contributing towards their professionalization as leaders.”

Developing Public Service Leaders is a comprehensive and essential read for researchers, policymakers, or students striving for an in-depth understanding of leadership development as policy, practice, and emergent institution.

A book presentation event is being held on Wednesday 25 January 2023, 2pm, in the Postgraduate Teaching Centre at Cardiff Business School. It is a joint event to celebrate and discuss this book and another one by Cardiff Business School staff, Contemporary Employers' Organizations edited by Leon Gooberman and Marco Hauptmeier, which was published earlier in 2022.

Developing Public Service Leaders: elite orchestration, change agency, leaderism, and neoliberalization is available from Oxford University Press.

Co-authors: Mike Wallace, Michael Reed, Dermot O’Reilly, Michael Tomlinson, Jonathan Morris, Rosemary Deem

ISBN: 978-0-19-955210-8

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