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date: 24 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A psychological approach to the study of political executives examines executives as individuals and leaders, observing their subjective interpretations of their political environments and exploring how these interpretations are influenced by their personal characteristics and experiences and can shape government policy-making and executive action. The psychological approach has evolved across time and contemporary research conceptualizes leadership as interaction between what the leader is like and the nature of the context. Research in this area involves a number of methods, including psychobiographies and assessment-at-a-distance tools. Key questions in this scholarship are: (1) what should we know about political leaders to understand their behaviour? (2) what influences individuals in group contexts? and (3) in what contexts is it critical to know something about executives as individuals? Building on prior work, we suggest future research should focus on comparisons of national leaders to other executives, social media, strategic interactions, and new decision units.

Keywords: political psychology, leaders, leadership, methods, context, leadership style, experience, decision-making

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