‘It’s every breath we take here’: Political astuteness and ethics in civil service leadership development

Hartley, Jean and Manzie, Stella (2020). ‘It’s every breath we take here’: Political astuteness and ethics in civil service leadership development. Public Money and Management (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09540962.2020.1777704

Abstract

This article uses survey and interview research with senior civil servants to argue that leadership with political astuteness is a specific contextual requirement for public servants who work closely with politicians. Also important are technical skills, judgement and a sharp sense of ethics and integrity. The ‘fine balance’ of political astuteness and other capabilities are shown in a framework about leading in an ethical way. Implications for the development of civil servants are considered.

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