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Leadership in a Communicative Perspective

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In analyzing a reform process at a Norwegian hospital, a central finding was that successful leadership depends upon actors assuming a communicative mode of interaction. This contradicts the instrumental view of leadership underlying the New Public Management approach, whose emphasis is on efficiency and goal achievement through employment of external sanctions. How can it be that leaders who give priority to reaching common understandings rather than on realizing specific goals are more successful? The unique feature of communicative leadership is its focus on legitimacy, which is achieved through rational conducted deliberation aimed at solving problems and resolving conflicts. This article depicts the varying organizational conditions favoring communicative leadership, such as decentralization, co-decision-making, and teamleadership. More specifically, delegation, reduced span of control, and dispersion of power are among the factors that contribute to a communicative mode of coordination.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-03-01

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