Background Paper 4 - Conceptions of Leadership

There is now a wide recognition in the international community that ‘leadership matters’ for growth and development, just as there was recognition some years ago that ‘institutions matter’. But what is ‘leadership’? How is it defined and can there be universal understandings and application of the concept?
 
Leadership is a concept which is often talked about, and which has generated a proliferation of literature, especially in the field of management and organizational science. However, despite the almost unanimous agreement on the importance of leadership for the success of private sector organizations and institutions, and the countless works on the concept, “the field of leadership studies has not succeeded in articulating a coherent, paradigm-shifting model or approach that both scholars and practitioners can accept and work with”. There is no unanimity as to what ‘leadership’ means. This brief survey sets out a representative sample of some of the ways in which ‘leadership’ has been defined from within a number of very different disciplines and approaches. It concludes with a preliminary working definition of ‘leadership’ in a developmental context.

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The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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New article - To Boldly Know: Knowledge, Peacekeeping and Remote Data Gathering in Conflict-Affected States

Thursday 12th October 2017

In this article in the Journal of International Peacekeeping, DLP researcher Suda Perera critically evaluates crowdsourcing's uses and abuses, and warns against an over-reliance on remotely gathered conflict data.

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Why political settlements matter

Thursday 5th October 2017

Join us on 5 Oct 2017 at ODI (10-11:30am) to discuss the research featured in a special issue of The Journal of International Development co-edited by Alina Rocha Menocal (DLP and ODI) and Jan Pospisil (Political Settlements Research Programme at the University of Edinburgh).

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