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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The article begins with a brief historical survey of instrumental and institutional leadership before turning to the distinctive contributions to the study of administrative leadership by students of public administration. It focuses on: leadership theory, the study of bureaucratic elites, ethnographic studies of bureaucrats, life histories of administrative leaders, and network governance and collaborative leadership. I argue for a broader analysis than the instrumental view of leadership, suggesting we encompass fiscal retrenchment, the ‘dark side’ of administrative leadership, and interpretive approaches. For each topic, the article identifies and discuss key texts. Three questions recur: whether public servants should be leaders; how to resolve the dilemmas between discretion and accountability; and how to reconcile the conflicting demands for better management with the constitutional and political role of public administration in the polity.

Keywords: Instrumental leadership, institutional leadership, administrative conservatorship, collaborative leadership, bureaucratic elites, ethnography Administrative Leadership

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