Different perspectives on leadership in the New Zealand public sector: the curious case of Christine Rankin
The controversy surrounding the style of leadership exercised by a leading public sector chief executive (CE) who has recently brought a legal action against the government is examined within the context of the evaluation of the “New Zealand model” that has occurred in the 1990s. A consequentialist logic is followed in the managerialist manuals that promote this style. Economic analysis that embodies the same logic can be applied to show that any a priori assessment should be more cautious. Rankin’s detractors have, however, applied a logic of appropriateness in castigating her style. One lesson to be drawn from her case is that public sector CEs should exercise an appreciative leadership that makes reasonable judgments in the face of conflict between these two logics. Another is that the politics-administration dichotomy can become unsustainable when issues of organizational culture and leadership become the subject of a secularized “culture war”.
Publisher: University of Otago
Series number: 113
Research Type: Discussion Paper