Formal and informal leaders play a critical role within organizations, including across the public sector; hospitals, schools, universities, local government, etc. Yet, in contrast to the private sector where leaders can exercise their power (of decision making) in a much more straightforward manner, public sector leaders are constrained by a number of key factors, including but not limited to accountability, legitimacy, multiple constituencies, hybrid structures, conflicting institutional logics, etc. The aim of this course is to offer a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the complexities surrounding leaders and leadership processes in the public sector. Important questions to be addressed include:
The course, which is central for all master-level students following the specialization on `organization and leadership¿ (organisasjon og ledelse), is organized in three parts. The first part takes stock of the existing theories, concepts and (sub-) disciplinary perspectives on leadership. The focus here is on providing students with a set of conceptual tools to both investigate and interpret leadership processes within (public) organizations. The second part of the course sheds light on the complexities and intricacies associated with decision making processes within public organizations, in addition to providing an account of the interplay between leaders and followers in the light of specific circumstances (e.g. democratic governance, bureaucratic systems, geographic contexts, performance or legitimacy crisis, sector-wide dynamics, etc.). The emphasis here is on the various levels of analysis as well as the roles, identities and inter-relations amongst the actors involved. Finally, the third part of the course focuses on the effects of leadership processes within public organizations. Of relevance here is to ascertain to what degree and under what circumstances leaders and (strategic) leadership processes are likely to affect, positively or negatively, organizational dynamics and future trajectories.
Faculty of Social Sciences