Contextualising leader dynamics: how public service leaders endevour to build influence

Wallace, Mike and Tomlinson, Michael (2011) Contextualising leader dynamics: how public service leaders endevour to build influence. In, Preedy, Margaret, Bennett, Nigel and Wise, Christine (eds.) Educational Leadership: Context, Strategy and Collaboration. London, GB, Sage. (Published in association with The Open University).


[img] Microsoft Word - Author's Original
Restricted to internal admin

Download (249Kb)


A generic conceptualization is developed of the evolutionary relationship between leader activity and context, informed by structuration theory. It is argued that theoretical development to date has underplayed the extent of leaders’ attempted--and more or less successful--manipulation of contextual factors, within structural parameters that bound their agency. A heuristic model of leaders’ interaction with their context is articulated. This links their degree of agency and its delimitation with the degree to which contextual factors can be manipulated to extend leaders’ platform for future influence. Findings from qualitative research on the perceptions of ‘top’ organization leaders in the English public services illustrate the application of the model. Indicative factors are perceived to be variably manipulable. The experience of one successful secondary school headteacher portrays how the context-leader dynamic operates cumulatively and recursively. The conclusion considers the implications of this conceptualization for theorizing, research, and policy for improving leadership practice.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBNs: 9781446201640 (paperback)
9781446201633 (hardback)
Related URLs:
Keywords: leader dynamics, contextual manipulability, leaders’ context, leadership theory, public service leaders
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Southampton Education School
ePrint ID: 200119
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
December 2011In press
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2011 09:16
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:45

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics