Chapter 15: Leadership in public sector organizations

Journal Article 15.1: Grint, K. and Holt, C. (2011) ‘Leading questions: if ‘Total Place’, ‘Big Society’ and local leadership are the answers: What’s the question?’, Leadership, 7(1): 85–98.

Description: This paper concerns the apparent decentralization of decision-making in the United Kingdom that has accompanied the new coalition government. In particular, the rise of Prime Minister Cameron’s public services initiative: ‘Big Society’, and one of its antecedents, ‘Total Place’. While these remain sites of political contest, they provide an opportunity for rethinking why the leadership of change might be linked to a change of leadership. In effect, if these approaches are the answer to the problem of providing public services in an age of austerity, then the author suggests, we need to start the analysis by asking what the questions to these answers are.


Journal Article 15.2: Grint, K. (2014) ‘The hedgehog and the fox: leadership lessons from D-Day’ Leadership, 10(2): 240–260.

Description: This article looks at a contest between two different approaches to war that embody different assumptions about the importance of leadership, management and command. Taking Archilocus’ phrase – ‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing’ – it is suggested that the success of the Allies on D-Day was dependent upon their greater attention to all three decision modes and their related problems than their German foes, whose penchant for the Cult of Combat led them to be more effective in battle but less effective in the pursuit of war. This is related to the difference between Tame, Wicked and Critical problems.


Journal Article 15.3: Levy, R. (2010) ‘New public management: end of an Era?’, Public Policy and Administration, 25(2): 234–240

Description: For the past 20 years, the New Public Management (NPM) has been the dominant paradigm in public administration theory and practice. Given its affinity with markets and private sector management, NPM is arguably as much a casualty of the global economic crisis as are the markets and market mechanisms which underpin it. In this context, this article explores the impact of the crisis on the current and future development of public administration practice. Starting from some stocktaking analyses written immediately prior to the downturn, four possible scenarios are suggested for public management practice in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.