Leading Change in a Complex Public Sector Environment

Anne Mette Kjeldsen, Joris van der Voet

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Successful organizational change depends on leadership, and this chapter reviews the literature on leadership in different types of public organization change processes. While transformational leadership is typically used more in planned processes of change, distributed leadership often accompanies emergent change processes. A key insight, however, is that the two leadership approaches should be viewed as complementary, depending on the characteristics of the different public organizations’ environments and structures. The bureaucratic structure and primacy of politics, the employment of public service professionals, and the environmental complexity with many stakeholders and complexity in tasks are all factors that affect the effectiveness of change leadership in public organizations. Future studies should address these characteristics in comparative and longitudinal studies that examine the mechanisms through which leadership contributes to the implementation of organizational change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging for Public Service Performance : How People and Values Make a Difference
EditorsPeter Leisink, Lotte Bøgh Andersen, Gene Brewer, Christian Bøtcher Jacobsen, Eva Knies, Wouter Vandenabeele
Place of publicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9780192893420
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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