Public leadership to foster peacebuilding in violently divided societies

Khalil, Loua and Hartley, Jean (2022). Public leadership to foster peacebuilding in violently divided societies. Public Management Review (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14719037.2022.2116094

Abstract

This paper examines public leadership for peacebuilding in divided societies emerging from severe violence. It deploys two theories of leadership: social identity and political astuteness, to investigate peacebuilding leadership processes. The paper investigates contradictions in social identity leadership, since peacebuilding leaders reach out beyond their own group to outgroups in hostile contexts. Semi-structured interviews with 32 leaders in Northern Ireland and in Bosnia Herzegovina, reveal that leading for peacebuilding exhibits inverse processes of social identity leadership and that political astuteness is also critical to navigate integration and differentiation within/across groups. Wider implications for public leadership in societies containing division are discussed.

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