Determining the paradox: Leadership within a County Council environment:An interpretive study on the understanding of the leadership paradigm within a Welsh County Council

  • Stephen Bater

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This study used full grounded theory method to examine leadership in a large rural Council setting in Wales. A mixed method approach was adopted for data collection using a robust quantitative questionnaire in the form of the Multi Factor Questionnaire (MLQ 5x) and using qualitative semi-structured interviews with fourteen members of the Councils leadership.

    Emergent from the research was the important role played by organizational politics and relationships in both facilitating the process of leadership and perhaps as important confounding it. Strong dyadic relationships were identified not along the traditional vertical leader follower model, but horizontal amongst peer groups which could both help and hinder the leadership process. Levels of transformational leadership behaviours only matched the optimum profile for one of the staff representatives and there were two senior managers having similar but slightly below the optimum profile. The qualitative analysis of the data revealed a somewhat different description and put forward new aspects of the participants’ behaviours that contradicted some of the questionnaire findings. There were multiple realities in the construction of leadership in the Council and no one paradigm emerged, rather a mix of the components of traditional leadership paradigms. Interestingly the vocabulary used by the participants closely aligned with a directive leadership style and there was only minimum use of vocabulary associated with transformational or servant leadership paradigms.

    The data clearly indicated that Council leadership requires a clear set of values and direction for the organisation, with leaders committing to and visibly demonstrating these values and to the direction. The absence of these values has resulted in areas where destructive elements of leadership are clearly evident in the organisation. Finally the use of the qualitative and quantitative data collection methods would be a very powerful approach for organisations to capture information on the enablers and barriers to leadership within the organisation. The qualitative data could be used to identify areas where the participants could improve behaviours and the quantitative data could be used to address l issues that were acting as barriers to transformation. The participants identified the topics they felt should be covered in a development course for Council leaders.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSimon Brooks (Supervisor) & Michael Sheehan (Supervisor)

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