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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Understanding Public Leadership

ISBN 9780230205529
Publication Date October 2014
Formats Hardcover Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave
Series The Public Management and Leadership Series

This major new text by one of the leading figures in the field worldwide, provides a systematic, and up-to-date introduction to political, public service and civic leadership drawing on a wide range of examples from across the western world. Rather than uncritically importing concepts and themes from the world of business, the author takes full account of the distinctive character of public leadership. Drawing on a wide range of both established approaches and cutting edge research - including his own - he provides an intellectually sophisticated but accessible state-of-the-art assessment which will meet the needs of students and practitioners alike.

Paul 't Hart is currently Professor of Public Administration at the Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, as well as Associate Dean of the Netherlands School of Public Administration. A multiple prize-winning author, lecturer and consultant, his research and teaching focus on political and public sector leadership, crisis management, policy evaluation and public accountability. His recent books include The Real World of EU Accountability (Oxford University Press, 2010), How Power Changes Hands: Transition and Succession in Government (Palgrave, 2011), Understanding Prime Ministerial Performance (Oxford University Press, 2013) and The Oxford Handbook of Political Leadership (Oxford University Press, 2014).

1. Unlocking Public Leadership
2. The Work of Public Leadership
3. Leading with Authority
4. Leading with Others
5. Leading in Context
6. Leading in Crises
7. Evaluating Public Leadership
8. Memo to an Agent of Change
9. Retrofitting Public Leadership.


Paul 't Hart apologizes for writing 'another book on leadership.' No apologies are required. This is the book on leadership, and particularly on public leadership. Encyclopedic and discriminating in its literature review, genuinely helpful in its prescriptions for would-be leaders and its morally grounded democratic hopes for good public leadership, it should go straight to the top of 't Hart's included list of must reads.' – Mark H. Moore, Harvard University
'Erudite but accessible, a rare combination, Paul 't Hart's writing keeps me thinking and makes me want to keep reading. Packed with fascinating insights, questions, ideas and examples throughout, it is essential reading for students, academics and practitioners alike.' – Jean Hartley, The Open University Business School
'Long-time leadership scholar Paul 't Hart has written a masterwork that will not only be essential reading for students, but simultaneously for leaders, because it so elegantly unpacks the complexities and dilemmas they inevitably face, and scholars, through its skilful weaving together of disparate insights and taxonomies into a single narrative. Nuanced yet eminently readable, written in a crisp and highly engaging style, it has all the earmarks of an instant classic.' – Montgomery Van Wart, California State University, San Bernardino
'Successfully providing a roadmap for current and future public leaders in democratic societies – political, administrative or civic, public leadership is presented as an interactive process that involves not only the leaders themselves but those who choose them and the contexts in which they operate.' – Margaret G. Hermann, Syracuse University
'This gem is essential reading for all who teach or research leadership and indeed for leaders in any field seeking an insight into their role.' – Allan Fels, Australia and New Zealand School of Government
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