School of Business and Management

BUSM149 Leadership in the Social and Public Sectors


2 (2017/18)



Module organiser

Patrick McGurk


Module overview

This module will investigate and discuss leadership in the social and pubic sectors from a theoretical sound and practical perspective. Marrying theory and practice will allow students to critically reflect on leadership processes and to apply their knowledge directly to real world cases from and practices in this sector. Furthermore, understanding and challenging leadership practices in social and public organisations will contribute to students' employability and their personal development.

More specifically, this module this module explores principal theories, typologies (e.g. transactional and transformational) and styles of individual and collective leadership at all levels of social and public organisations. Includes research evidence on the effectiveness and otherwise of leadership on performance in social and public sector organisations, often in politically- or resource-constrained environments. Particular attention is given to crisis leadership.


100% coursework

Indicative reading list


  • Teelken C, Ferlie E and Dent M, 2012, Leadership in the public sector: promises and pitfalls, London: Routledge.
  • Joyce P, 2012, Strategic leadership in the public services, London: Routledge
  • Van Wart M, 2012, Leadership in public organizations: an introduction, 2nd edn, Armonk, New York: ME. Sharpe.
  • Javidan M and Waldman DA, 2003, Exploring the charismatic leader in the public sector: management and consequences, Public administration review, 63, 2, 229-242.
  • Rainey HG and Thompson J, 2006, Leadership and the transformation of a major institution: Charles Rossotti and the Internal Revenue Service, Public administration review, Jul-Aug 596-604.
  • Kouzes JM and Posner BZ, The leadership challenge, 4thedn, New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Petrovsky N, 2010, Leadership, in Ashworth R, Boyne G and Entwistle T, eds, Public service improvement: theories and evidence, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 78-97.
  • Boyne G, 2010, Strategic planning, in Ashworth R, Boyne G and Entwistle T, eds, Public service improvement: theories and evidence, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 60-77.
  • Howieson, B and Hodges, J, Public and Third Sector Leadership: Experience Speaks, Emerald, 2016

    Journal articles from top-ranked journal such as Leadership Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Public Sector Management, Harvard Business review etc. will be specified by lecture at a later stage.