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Elected mayors in England: leaders or managers?

Elected mayors in England: leaders or managers? PurposePhilosophers and political scientists have a long history of dealing with the difficult puzzle of leadership, and how it is to be distinguished from management and administration. The purpose of this paper is to explore the question of whether the innovative role of elected executive mayor in England can be considered as leader or manager. The paper critically assesses the concept of leadership before using empirical evidence to come to conclusions about the current role of elected mayor, an office with an uncertain history and unclear future in English public sector leadership.Design/methodology/approachThe paper draws from the authors’ qualitative interviews with mayors from the inception of the office to the recent past.FindingsThe study finds that elected executive mayors are both leaders and managers, but that the notion of leadership in the local public sector remains contested as the mayor is a part of a bureaucratic structure of administration which limits the exercise of leadership as outlined in the existing literature.Research limitations/implicationsAs central government continues to advocate the expansion of the office of mayor, not least as part of English regional devolution, the study relates to future practice and to overall understanding of just what elected mayors do.Practical implicationsThe paper provides useful insight into the forthcoming expansion of the mayoral system into the new Combined Authorities.Originality/valueThe paper provides original evidence about the faltering progress of the mayoral system in the English public sector. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Public Leadership Emerald Publishing

Elected mayors in England: leaders or managers?

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References (32)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2056-4929
DOI
10.1108/IJPL-04-2016-0018
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposePhilosophers and political scientists have a long history of dealing with the difficult puzzle of leadership, and how it is to be distinguished from management and administration. The purpose of this paper is to explore the question of whether the innovative role of elected executive mayor in England can be considered as leader or manager. The paper critically assesses the concept of leadership before using empirical evidence to come to conclusions about the current role of elected mayor, an office with an uncertain history and unclear future in English public sector leadership.Design/methodology/approachThe paper draws from the authors’ qualitative interviews with mayors from the inception of the office to the recent past.FindingsThe study finds that elected executive mayors are both leaders and managers, but that the notion of leadership in the local public sector remains contested as the mayor is a part of a bureaucratic structure of administration which limits the exercise of leadership as outlined in the existing literature.Research limitations/implicationsAs central government continues to advocate the expansion of the office of mayor, not least as part of English regional devolution, the study relates to future practice and to overall understanding of just what elected mayors do.Practical implicationsThe paper provides useful insight into the forthcoming expansion of the mayoral system into the new Combined Authorities.Originality/valueThe paper provides original evidence about the faltering progress of the mayoral system in the English public sector.

Journal

International Journal of Public LeadershipEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 14, 2016

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