From the Preface:This essay outlines a perspective for the study of leadership in administrative organizations. It was written in the conviction that more reflective, theoretical discussion is needed to guide the gathering of facts that the diagnosis of troubles. This subject, like the larger study of government and society, requires our profoundest intellectual concern. We shall not find any simple prescriptions for sound organizational leadership; nor will it be purchased with a bag of tricks and gadgets. It requires nothing less than the proper ordering of human affairs, including the establishment of social order, the determination of public interest, and the defense of critical values. Thus conceived, our inquiry has ancient roots. The main problems and issues have been known for a long time, although they need to be restated for the purposes of administrative theory.
2. Routine and Critical Decisions
3. The Definition of Mission and Role
4. The Institutional Embodiment of Purpose
Philip Selznick (January 8, 1919 – June 12, 2010) was professor of sociology and law at the University of California, Berkeley. A noted author in organizational theory, sociology of law and public administration, he wrote such books as The Moral Commonwealth, TVA and the Grass Roots, and Leadership in Administration.
"Philip Selznick has profoundly affected how all serious students of organizations think about their subject. Leadership in Administration is, perhaps, his masterpiece: a lucid, rigorous, yet humane analysis of the essential task of leadership that brilliantly reaffirms the organic, value-infused character of a successful enterprise, whether private or public. The central concepts of the book—'mission,' 'distinctive competence'—have become so much a part of our vocabulary that we sometimes forget they had to be invented and that Selznick invented them. His reminder that the true exercise of leadership transcends a concern with mere efficiency is even more appropriate in today's era of quasi-scientific thought about organizations than it was when, presciently, he first set it forth in 1957."—James Q. Wilson, Harvard University
"The reappearance of Leadership in Administration will be most welcome to students of organizations because it provides the most lucid and complete statement available of Selznick's special view of organizations. This view has given rise to the institutionalist school of organizational analysis, one of the liveliest and more irrelevant alternatives to mainstream rationalist formulations."—W. Richard Scott, Stanford University
"Leadership in Administration has become a classic in the art of executive leadership. In fact, it is stimulating more managerial thought and organizational research today than ever before."—Robert H. Miles, Harvard Business School