Clear purpose or sheer survival? National ministerial leadership across multiple arenas

Stansfield, Annette (2016). Clear purpose or sheer survival? National ministerial leadership across multiple arenas. The American Review of Public Administration, 46(4) pp. 478–498.



Day-to-day political life for the most senior national politicians can be very pressurized and exposed. How they as individuals cope with constant challenges and make the most of opportunities for leadership is an under researched area. This is addressed in this interpretive study of the personal accounts of a small group of prominent U.K. politicians as they reflect, soon after leaving office, on their experiences as national ministers. The article connects generic leadership theory around practice and purpose with political leadership studies as a basis for a thematic analysis of ministers’ experiences across three key prominent arenas of ministerial life: relationships with the Prime Minister’s office, within their departments, and with their constituencies. Analysis of findings leads to a proposed analytical framework of active leadership in their everyday experience. The article concludes that active leadership practice is difficult but possible for leading national politicians.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 41171
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1552-3357
  • Keywords
  • political leadership; political arenas; politial practices; national government
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2014 The Author
  • Depositing User
  • Annette Stansfield