Leonie Heres, PhD
Assistant Professor of Governance
Utrecht School of Governance
+31 (0)30 253 7117
3511 ZC Utrecht, the Netherlands
Ethical leadership is a key factor in safeguarding and fostering the integrity of organisations. According to a recent report on Integrity and Safety in the Dutch public sector there is still plenty of room for improvement in the ethical leadership department, though. A large survey study among public servants at federal, regional, and local level shows that around 70% of the employees believes their manager values honesty and integrity, is against the use of unethical practices to improve results, and holds employees accountable for their moral behaviour. However, only around 60% agrees that their manager acknowledges mistakes and shows personal accountability, while just over half of the respondents agrees that their manager sets a good moral example with his or her actions and decisions.
In light of these results, I was pleased to read that the Dutch Minister of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations, dr. Ronald Plasterk, took note of my research report Tonen van de Top (Tone at the Top) and explicitly underscored the importance of ethical leadership. In his reaction on the aforementioned report, he expressed that he will undertake action to see how ethical leadership within public sector organisations can be further improved.
You can read the entire report Monitor Integriteit en Veiligheid 2016 and the reaction of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations (both in Dutch) here.
Today the research report ‘Tonen van de Top‘ (Tone at the Top) that I wrote for the Dutch National Integrity Office (BIOS) was published. The report details the results of 20 interviews with top-level civil servants in the Netherlands on their role in fostering integrity in public organisations.
In the report, I explain that the main issue in the Dutch public sector does not seem to be a lack of integrity at the top. Rather, it’s that there is a discrepancy in civil servants and top administrators experience of ethical leadership in the organisation. The interviews suggest this discrepancy is likely the result of biased information about top administrators’ behaviour and decisions and too implicit ethical leadership by some top administrators. To benefit from the many positive effects of ethical leadership, top administrators thus need to take a critical look at how visible and credible their ethical guidance truly is and take deliberate efforts to manage employees’ perceptions of their leadership.
Read more about the report in the interview I gave to the Dutch magazine ‘Binnenlands Bestuur’ and the press release from BIOS. For even more details and practical implications for management, read the full report (in Dutch) here.
With its 1st international conference on 7-8 April, the Public and Political Leadership Network (PUPOL) has officially gone international. And with great success! Membership is increasing and expanding across the globe, and the executive board is in the midst of many new and exciting activities:
The first quarterly PUPOL newsletter will soon be sent to all PUPOL members. Expect to read all the latest on member publications, funding opportunities, calls for papers and job vacancies -all related to public and political leadership research of course.
The PUPOL website is on its way –more updates on that soon.
We are in talks with a top tier journal for a special issue on ethical leadership in the public and political domain. The special issue will be edited by dr. Sandra Resodihardjo (Radboud University), prof. Montgomery Van Wart (California State University, SB) and myself.
Preparations for PUPOL’s second conference ‘Leadership for Public and Social Value’ are well underway. The conference is hosted by the Open University and will take place on 6-7 April 2017 in Milton Keynes (UK). A call for papers will soon be posted on the new PUPOL website.
Want to stay updated on the latest news, events, and PUPOL activities? Discuss issues, ask questions, post or keep track of job opportunities in academic research and teaching on leadership in the public and private domain? Subscribe to the PUPOL mailinglist at www.jiscmail.ac.uk/PUPOL.
As of March 1st of this year, I have a new academic home: the Utrecht School of Governance. After two great years at the Institute of Management Research of the Radboud University, I was offered a new position in Utrecht that I simply could not resist. My new role as assistant professor of Governance gives me the opportunity to teach and do research at the cross-section of public administration and organisation science. It is this cross-section of the two disciplines at which I feel most at home and that allows me get the best of both worlds.
I am excited to venture into new fields and collaborations with my colleagues in Utrecht, while continuing the various research projects with my colleagues in Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam) and Nijmegen (Radboud University). Because even though I may have changed universities, it doesn’t feel like I will ever really leave Nijmegen. Just like I never really left Amsterdam. Indeed, in academia you never really lose your colleagues when you leave -you merely gain new colleagues and with that inspiring, fresh perspectives.
I won the 2014 G.A. van Poelje award for the best Dutch-Flemish dissertation in Public Administration!
I am greatly honoured and humbled by this award from the Vereniging voor Bestuurskunde (Society for Public Administration), and the kind words that the jury had to say about my work. While recognising that it is not your typical PA-dissertation, the jury especially lauded its “rich content”, multidisciplinary and mixed-methods approach of the research, and academic craftsmanship. You can read the entire jury report (in Dutch) here.
The keynote speaker for the 1st international PUPOL conference on 7-8 April 2016 is known! Professor Ludger Helms, Chair of Comparative Politics at the University of Innsbruck will hold a keynote lecture titled ‘Leadership Challenges in a Post-Democratic Age’.
Prof. Helms studies political leadership with a special focus on the performance of individual actors in complex leadership environments. In many of his contributions to this field, he looks at the possibilities and limits of political leadership in liberal democracies from a comparative perspective.
Want to know more about the PUPOL conference? Visit the conference website and check out the call for papers!
The first PUPOL International Conference
LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES IN A GLOBAL WORLD
Thursday 7 April – Friday 8 April 2016
Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Submission deadline paper proposals: 1 December 2015
Conference website: www.ru.nl/imr/pupol/
PUPOL mailing list: www.jiscmail.ac.uk/PUPOL
Societies have always faced challenging problems such as safety, poverty, and health care. Currently though these issues are transcending national borders as the world becomes increasingly complex. Besides these traditional challenges to the core functions of the state, global problems are emerging – including climate change, terrorism, and migration – forcing states to work together. To address such wicked problems, citizens look at political and public leaders and urge for their leadership. The aim of the PUPOL (Public and Political Leadership) international academic network is to contribute to solutions and help societies and their leaders address such challenges through scholarship specifically focusing on the role of leaders and leadership in the public and political domain. One way to achieve this aim is through organizing international conferences – the first of which will be held on 7-8 April 2016 in the Netherlands.
Call for papers
Sessions are organized in which we offer participants the opportunity to discuss their research – be it at a fledgling stage, fully developed or anything in between. Paper proposals can be theoretically and/or empirically based, employ any of the existing methodologies (or introduce even new ones), as long as they highlight a specific (public or political) leadership topic linked to the conference theme. Paper proposals conveying research findings of interest to the real world are particularly encouraged.
The following topics are indicative of themes, though they do not constitute an exhaustive list:
The role of leadership in solving wicked problems, on a national or international level. Especially comparative studies are encouraged;
Processes and outcomes of leadership at societal, organizational, team and/or individual levels on key organizational outcomes such as public value(s) creation and public service delivery, creativity and innovation, PSM and/or public service ethos, ethical climate and organizational commitment etc.;
Studies using one or more established leadership approaches (e.g., servant leadership, transformational leadership, ethical leadership, LMX);
Development of public and/or political leadership measures;
Negative forms of leadership (destructive leadership, abusive supervision, toxic leadership);
Leadership and culture, especially intercultural comparison of leadership approaches and outcomes;
Original methodological perspectives or the comparison of different methodological perspectives to study leadership, such as studies of biographies of leaders, historical studies, observations, Q-studies etc.
Based on the full papers, the organizers will invite authors of six papers for a special issue on the conference theme Leadership Challenges in a Global World.
Your paper proposal should include your contact details, title of the paper, keywords and theme to which the paper is linked (either one of the themes indicated above or a theme of your own choosing) and an abstract. The abstract itself (excluding references) should be max. 1 A4 to facilitate the selection process.
Paper proposals will be selected based on quality and matching with other papers to form coherent sessions for presenting papers and discussing research ideas.
Submission deadline paper proposals and abstracts: 1 December 2015
Submission deadline full papers and registration: 1 February 2015
Dr Leonie Heres – Assistant Professor at the Department of Business Administration, Radboud University (the Netherlands).
Dr Karin Lasthuizen – Associate Professor at the Department of Public Administration and Political Sciences, VU University Amsterdam (the Netherlands).
Dr Sandra Resodihardjo – Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Administration, Radboud University (the Netherlands).
Dr Sabina Stiller – Senior Lecturer at the Department of Business Administration, Radboud University (the Netherlands).
It’s been a while since I last updated this site with a post about all that I have been up to lately. But that doesn’t mean that I have been sitting still —au contraire. So here’s a quick selection of what’s been keeping me busy since last December and what you can expect from me in the next few months:
As of April, I have been working on a research project for the Dutch Bureau of Integrity for the Public Sector (BIOS) on ethical leadership among top-level administrators in Dutch municipalities, regional water authorities, provinces, and ministries. The research involves an up-to-date literature review on the effects of ethical leadership and in-depth interviews with 19 top-level administrators on the risks, complexities, and prerequisites of ethical leadership. The report is expected to be published in Fall/Winter 2015.
Meanwhile, the Public and Political Leadership network of which I am co-chair (with Sandra Resodihardjo, Karin Lasthuizen and Sabina Stiller) is going international! And to kick things off, we are in the midst of organising PUPOL’s first international conference. The conference is set to take place on 7-8 April in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Want to know more? Check out the website: www.ru.nl/imr/pupol and call for papers.
To make sure the scientific knowledge on integrity and ethical leadership doesn’t stay hidden behind the walls of academia, I also frequently participate in activities aimed at making such knowledge accessible to professionals in the field. For instance, in October, I gave a 1-day workshop on integrity and ethical leadership to a group of directors in primary education. And on 24 November, I will be one of the speakers in a ‘talkshow’ at the Dag van de Integriteit, organised by BIOS. I have furthermore written a short piece for BIOS’ yearbook on integrity (to be published in November) on factors that hinder public managers in their ethical leadership and a summary of my dissertation research is set to be published in the journal of the Dutch Society for Psychologists, De Psycholoog.
Last but not least, I received a short-list nomination for the Dutch Association for Public Administration’s Van Poelje dissertation award!