In public organizations, there is an increased interest in leadership in complex and adaptive systems; so called ‘adaptive leadership’. Here we present qualitative research into leadership styles and functions of a small sample of council secretaries in The Netherlands. The results show that in practice the formal and bureaucratic leadership functions are still dominant, leaving little room for adaptive and enabling leadership. This paper explores the extent to which the public and political circumstances influence the execution of these leadership functions. The main conclusion of our research is that leadership theory and practice diverge greatly.
By René Grotens, Gerda van Dijk & Mark van Vugt