News & Events
The Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University hosted a workshop on 13-14 December 2010 entitled "The Elephant in the Room: Politics and the Development Problem".
Does higher education have a role in promoting the emergence of developmental leaders and elites? Could higher education play a vital role in producing a pool of people with the capacity and vision to constitute progressive development leadership across sectors? And does higher education contribute to the formation of networks that facilitate the emergence of developmental coalitions? As the first step in a longer program of work to collect the evidence, this research paper surveys the literature on this question and offers a preliminary data analysis.
Do 'leadership development programmes' contribute to positive development outcomes or do they only enhance the careers of their participants? Could they do both and, if so, how? What criteria can donors use in deciding whether and how to support, fund, influence or design such programmes? This paper reviews the evidence about leadership development programmes as a tool for development policy. It argues that donor and recipient organisations need to be much more discriminating when choosing to support or design a programme, and that understanding the 'political' nature of leadership is the key to choosing or designing a good programme.
It is often argued (by the World Bank and other development organizations) that integrity and ethical leadership are critical components of good governance. But what is 'ethical leadership'? What is 'developmental integrity'? How is it achieved? And what are the conditions for sustaining it? This new study by Eduard Grebe and Minka Woermann - intended to help policy-makers think clearly about ethics and integrity in relation to developmental issues - develops a conceptual framework for thinking about integrity and leadership in developmental contexts, not only in terms of individual behaviour, but also in terms of institutions.
The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) held its first Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt on 10th and 11th March, 2011, facilitated by the GIZ. The focus of the DLP is on the role of developmental leaderships and coalitions in the politics of sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development. The purpose of the workshop was to explore and elaborate the policy, programme and operational implications of the recently completed phase of DLP research and to map the way forward for future research, policy and communications activities.
Dr Sarah Phillips, from the Centre for International Security Studies, Sydney University, presented her work on the crisis in Yemen to an audience of Australian officials from across government, and other interested parties, in AusAID on Wednesday, 8th June. Dr Phillips' presentation looked behind the scenes at the Yemeni regime's opaque internal politics and at the nature of the system entrenched by President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the past 32 years. It also discussed the implications of this for Western counter-terrorism policies in Yemen.
There is now wide recognition that political processes - and especially the role of leaderships and coalitions - are fundamental in shaping and sustaining the institutional and policy environment that promotes or frustrates sustainable economic growth and inclusive social development. That being so, what is to be done? What does it mean for development policy and practice? In seeking to address some of these issues, the DLP held its first Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt in March, 2011. This paper provides a summary of the key findings, insights and initial guidance arising from the workshop and from recent phases of DLP research.
Policy-makers, researchers and practitioners can learn a great deal about the complexity of the politics of reform from the direct experiences of reform leaderships in developing countries. The Innovations for Successful Societies at Princeton University is building a series of case studies and recordings of interviews with developmental leaders from around the world. This rich source of information will be of great value to those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the role which developmental leaderships and coalitions can play in promoting locally appropriate institutional and policy innovation and reform in the diverse contexts of their own countries.
Has the international community devoted too little attention to the role of higher education in promoting developmental outcomes? Can higher education make a significant contribution to the emergence of developmental leadership in all sectors of society, both public and private? If so, how? And what is the evidence for this? An earlier DLP paper showed that despite evidence for a clear and positive correlation between higher education and good governance, this is an area that has been largely neglected by the international community in favour of an emphasis on basic or primary education. This new paper by Laura Brannelly, Laura Lewis and Susy Ndaruhutse surveys evidence from a wide literature regarding which aspects of higher education can promote the emergence of developmental leadership.
Despite a potentially huge range of empirical evidence and examples, our understanding of how coalitions are formed, managed and funded, and what makes for successful coalitions remains remarkably limited. The purpose of the workshop is therefore to deepen our understanding of these crucial developmental political processes, to help classify different forms of coalitions, to derive significant policy and programmatic messages, and to formulate guidelines for the international community about how to broker, facilitate and support progressive developmental coalitions across sectors and issue areas. The workshop will draw on the rich experience and thinking of its participants - a mix of distinguished researchers and practitioners from a variety of contexts.
Following the Joint Statement on the political economy of Africa, agreed by five research groups including DLP, we've been keeping the discussion going through the excellent 'Different take on Africa' blog. Today Adrian Leftwich posted a piece on the blog emphasising the importance of understanding the agential factors that have held back African development: the question of leadership. Specifically, what role leadership can play at "critical junctures in reconstructing coalitions, initiating new political settlements or sustaining old ones"? And the potential for developmental leaderships - in all sectors and levels of society - to mobilise people and resources to overcome the critical collective action problems that typically plague development in Africa.
Review: "Transformative Political Leadership: Making a difference in the developing world" by Robert Rotberg
As a recent DLP Research Paper showed, remarkably little serious academic research has been devoted to the role of leadership in the politics of development, though it is commonly referred to in policy documents as an important factor. While there is a substantial literature in the fields of business studies, corporate management and psychology, there remains a significant deficit in relation to development issues, but two important recent academic studies have begun to reduce that deficit. The second, by Robert Rotberg, 'Transformative Political Leadership: Making a difference in the developing world' is reviewed below.
We were delighted that over 100 scholars and development practitioners joined us for the Adrian Leftwich Memorial Conference on 24 January. We commemorated DLP's founding Director of Research with a fascinating day of reflection and discussion.
A new DLP Research Paper highlights the important role of quality secondary and higher education in forming developmental leadership in Ghana.
'Room For Maneuver' explores the politics of social sector policy reform in the Philippines. The book, co-edited by the late Adrian Leftwich, highlights lessons for reform advocates.
DLP has begun a new phase of work led by the University of Birmingham, with funding in place until 2017. The new research grant marks a first step towards the consolidation of DLP as a global partnership.
Two exciting opportunities have arisen for an accomplished research fellow and senior research fellow to work with DLP at La Trobe University's Institute for Human Security and Social Change. VACANCIES NOW CLOSED.
DLP-commissioned research is being fed into the continuing debate on the post-2015 agenda to establish development priorities beyond the Millennium Development Goals.
DLP's Senior Research Partner Chris Roche and Research Fellow Gillian Fletcher, with their La Trobe colleague Professor Dennis Altman, ran an interactive workshop with more than 275 new and departing Colombo Plan and Australia Awards scholars in Melbourne on 29 June 2015.
A new research project in collaboration with the Uongozi Institute for Leadership for Sustainable Development is exploring developmental leadership in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa.
New research from DLP and the University of Glasgow explores the role of higher education in the emergence of leaders who promote development in the Philippines. See the policy brief, podcast and paper.
Achieving Reforms in Oligarchical Democracies: The Role of Leadership and Coalitions in the Philippines
This paper examines the role of developmental leadership in two major reforms introduced in the Philippines in 2012: the Sin Tax Reform and the re-registration of voters in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
This study highlights the important role that quality education, at both secondary and higher level, has played in the formation of developmental leadership in Ghana. Its findings include the way in which quality education (largely residential in Ghana) has promoted social integration and shared values, and can help form networks and coalitions that have a greater chance of initiating and sustaining reform.
Using the DLP’s African Heads of State database, this paper explores the potential contribution which leadership may have made to the stories outlined in a well received study on Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries Are Leading the Way by Steven Radelet.
Learning and Leadership: Exploring the linkages between higher education and developmental leadership
Has the international community devoted too little attention to the role of higher education in promoting developmental outcomes? Can higher education make a significant contribution to the emergence of developmental leadership in all sectors of society, both public and private? If so, how? And what is the evidence for this?
Institutions of Integrity and the Integrity of Institutions: Integrity and ethics in the politics of developmental leadership
In current debate, many developmental problems are attributed to the failure of leadership and, in particular, to the absence of either ‘ethical leadership’ or ‘integrity in leadership’. But what is ‘ethical leadership’? What is ‘developmental integrity’? How is it achieved? And what are the conditions for sustaining it?
Many new Leadership Development Programmes (LDPs) have emerged as interest within the international development community has increased in ‘leadership’ as a factor in the processes of development. This paper reviews leadership development programmes as a tool for development policy.
Higher education and the formation of developmental elites: A literature review and preliminary data analysis
There is increasing recognition that overcoming the challenges of development will require leadership across the public and private sectors. But how do developmental leaders acquire the necessary skills and values to lead? How might higher education influence this process, and how can it contribute towards improved governance?
This case history traces the evolution of LEAD International. It shows how LEAD started as a well-funded international training program, lasting for a two-year period for each cohort, which aimed to enable leaders from developing countries to engage better politically and professionally with the international community on environmental issues.
DLP’s initial objectives were to undertake research and analysis, build knowledge and present evidence of the impact of leadership on development outcomes. Attempts to examine the role of leaders in in shaping institutions and state-building were to provide the basis from which short, medium and long term policy and operational implications could be derived for the international development community.
Indigenous Institutions, Traditional Leaders and Developmental Coalitions: The Case of Greater Durban, South Africa
This paper examines the incorporation of indigenous institutions into the newly democratised eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (the Metro) in Durban, South Africa, profiling examples of better and worse practice both at provincial level in KwaZulu-Natal and in the context of metropolitan governance.
Coalitions, Capitalists and Credibility: Overcoming the Crisis of Confidence at Independence in Mauritius
Few countries in the developing world have solved the puzzle of governing for broad-based prosperity. Mauritius is an exception. At the end of the colonial period, it was an isolated plantation economy, with a deeply divided population that had experienced violent urban riots. Between 1968 and 1988 it was transformed and has earned its status as a development “superstar" on a number of measures.
This study, the first of its kind, analyses the inner political story of leaders, elite interactions and coalition formation in the processes of development in Botswana. It examines the role of leaders, elites and coalitions since independence in 1966 in making Botswana a successful ‘developmental state’.
The Politics of Institutional Indigenization: Leaders, Elites and Coalitions in building appropriate and legitimate institutions for economic growth and social development
It is broadly agreed that ‘good governance’ and sound institutions are necessary for growth and development, but our conventional approaches to governance reform are not working. What explains this now widespread failure of institutions, which have been transferred from developed to developing countries to take root and prosper?
The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) addresses an important gap in international thinking and policy about the critical role played by leaders, elites and coalitions in the politics of development.
The key contention of the Developmental Leadership Program is that developmental leaderships and coalitions are critical in shaping the kind and quality of institutions and state-building processes, and hence are central to achieving the goals of economic growth, political stability, security and inclusive social development.
This paper addresses the hitherto neglected question of whether and how higher education may contribute to the emergence of developmental leadership.
Executive Summary - An Analysis of Leadership Development Programmes working in the context of development
This paper reviews leadership development programmes as a tool for development policy. We argue that donor and recipient organisations need to be much more discriminating when choosing or designing programmes; that most programmes fall short if their aim is to contribute to development; and that understanding the ‘political’ nature of leadership is key to choosing or designing a good programme.
“Working politically behind red lines” examines six cases of collective initiatives to advance women’s rights in Egypt and Jordan between 2000 and 2010. The study explores what accounts for the emergence, success and failure of women’s coalitions in these two countries.
In his well-received book on Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries Are Leading the Way, Steve Radelet distinguished between Emerging, Threshold and Non-Emerging countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This new paper draws on the DLP African Heads of State database, to explore the potential contribution which leadership may have made to these stories.
This study highlights the important role that quality education, at both secondary and higher level, has played in the formation of developmental leadership in Ghana.
Executive Summary - Achieving Reforms in Oligarchical Democracies - Leadership and Coalitions in the Philippines
This paper examines the role of developmental leadership in two major reforms introduced in the Philippines in 2012: the excise tax reform, which significantly raised taxes on cigarettes and alcohol – generally referred to as the Sin Tax Reform – and the re-registration of voters in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Even where there are no functioning state structures, few societies remain ungoverned. This paper surveys the literature on development and non-state actors. It sets out the evidence for the merits of engaging politically with NSAs by incorporating them into governance and statebuilding programmes, and examines the challenges this may pose.
This paper notes that the evidence suggests truly inclusive political settlements will need to involve any non-state actors able to exercise significant economic, political, or social influence on the development process, regardless of whether this influence is positive or negative.
This paper, commissioned by DFID, concludes that while inclusive political settlements and processes are essential in the long-term building of more peaceful and resilient states and societies, we still know relatively little about how the boundaries of a settlement with an initially narrow focus on elite inclusion can be expanded.
This paper explores the role of higher education in the emergence of developmental leaders and the formation of networks among leaders in the Philippines. Its findings nuance the perennial emphasis on human capital as an outcome of higher education, highlighting the importance of social capital - particularly of networks with people from other backgrounds.
This two-page policy brief is based on research in the Philippines that explored the role of higher education in the emergence of leaders who promote development.
Thinking and Working Politically to Support Developmental Leadership and Coalitions: The Pacific Leadership Program
This paper explores the experience of four reform coalitions supported by the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and what this tells us about supporting developmental leadership and thinking and working politically in the Pacific.