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 Wallace_&_Tomlinson_leader_dynamics_paper.doc - Author's Original
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (255kB)


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: 9781446201633 (print)
9781446201640 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: leader dynamics, contextual manipulability, leaders’ context, leadership theory, public service leaders

Organisations: Southampton Education School
ePrint ID: 200119
Date :
Date Event
December 2011Accepted/In Press
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2011 09:16
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 01:27
Further Information:Google Scholar

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item