Leader’s self-regulation in leading public sector change: The contribution of conceptual skills
School of Business and Law
There is limited research examining conceptual skills that enable leaders to lead public sector change more effectively, although there is a widespread consensus on their importance. As conceptual skills are often ambiguous and difficult to understand, the purpose of this study is to focus on one area where conceptual skill is likely to be relevant which is a leader’s competence in self-regulation, and its role in leading public sector change. A leader’s self-regulation is a necessary individual capacity to manage one’s self and others, especially in times of change. Drawing from Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and authentic leadership theory, we propose several attributes of a leader’s self-regulation that encompasses (i) his/her competencies in dealing with the environment, (ii) his/her ability to formulate and achieve intrinsic aspirations, goals and plans, (iii) his/her consistent values in leading change, and (iv) his/her compassion in leading change.
Data collection for the study involves interviews and focus groups with top managers of government organisations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), supported by field observations of public leaders at work and secondary documents on public sector change. The study contributes to the literature on the leadership of change and adds to knowledge on the role of conceptual skills in public sector leaders’ self-regulation.