Developing leaders as symbolic violence:reproducing public service leadership through the (misrecognized) development of leaders’ capitals

Michael, Tomlinson and O'Reilly, Dermot and Wallace, Mike (2013) Developing leaders as symbolic violence:reproducing public service leadership through the (misrecognized) development of leaders’ capitals. Management Learning, 44 (1). pp. 81-97. ISSN 1350-5076

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Abstract

A critical analysis is developed of the part that centrally initiated leadership development plays as a strategic lever for ensuring a steady supply of organizational leaders equipped and willing to meet the goals of widespread service improvement. Selected Bourdieusian conceptual tools are employed to illustrate how centrally initiated development of leaders operates as a form of ‘symbolic violence’: a covert means of perpetuating political elite domination. Organizational leaders misrecognize it as promoting their interest in expanding their influence because they are attracted by the opportunity it overtly offers to build their ‘capitals’. This process operates across two main administrative levels: the central (system) level and the organizational (local) level. The analysis is empirically grounded through the case of UK public services, drawing on a study of public service leaders, policymakers and representatives from national leadership development bodies in the United Kingdom. The findings illustrate how central policy elites endeavour to use leadership development to acculturate organizational leaders capable of responding favourably to a reconfigured and re-professionalized public service field. At the same time, organizational leaders consent to this through its perceived value in expanding their influence and developing their leader-related forms of capital.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Management Learning
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/aacsb/disciplinebasedresearch
Subjects:
Departments: Lancaster University Management School > Management Learning & Leadership
ID Code: 62671
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 28 Feb 2013 16:39
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2019 17:16
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/62671

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