Leadership Practices of Council Secretaries in Turbulent Times: A Case Study

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There is an increased interest among scientists and practitioners in leadership in complex and adaptive systems (adaptive leadership). Here we present qualitative research into the leadership styles and functions of a small sample of council secretaries in the Netherlands. The results from in-depth interviews show that in practice the formal and bureaucratic leadership functions are still dominant, leaving little room for adaptive and enabling leadership. This paper explores the extent to which the public and political circumstances influence the execution of these leadership functions. The main conclusion of our research is that leadership theory and practice diverge greatly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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