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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Power and systems, and their role in developmental change: Guest seminar with Duncan Green

Tuesday 21st February 2017

Seeing power and complex social systems clearly is the first step towards supporting positive developmental change, says Oxfam Strategic Director and DLP research partner Duncan Green. He discussed the themes of his latest book at a recent International Development Department guest seminar at the University of Birmingham.

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'How Change Happens': Birmingham seminar with Duncan Green

Monday 9th January 2017

What works in achieving progressive change? How do power and systems shape change, and how can you influence them? Join Oxfam's Duncan Green on Thursday 19 January to discuss the themes of his new book 'How Change Happens'. The presentation will be followed by a drinks reception and book signing.

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