Philip Selznick's renowned book Leadership in Administration -- it practically invented the genre of executive leadership studies and is the lively response to the "rationalist" approach to organizations -- has been re-released in ebook formats, adding a new introduction by Robert E. Rosen.
Foundational study of how institutions work and how leadership promotes them, often cited in many fields and assigned to classes in a variety of departments -- including sociology and business, public administration, and executive training in management and military leadership -- this book jumpstarted modern institutional-leadership programs. Leadership in Administration is still recognized as an engaging and accessible presentation of the institutionalist school's argument.
Selznick's analysis goes beyond efficiency and traditional loyalty: he examines the more nuanced variables of effective leadership of organizations in business, education, government, the military, and labor. Selznick notes that such concepts as organizational character, values, and statesman-like leadership are central to institutions that want to succeed and avoid drift and opportunism.
Beyond the usual platitudes and generalities of leadership, this book takes a realistic look at what successful management means. It is not just about engineering people to produce more or making the agency run "smoothly." That only matters once concrete aims and values are established. Selznick notes that it is in specifics and nimble responsiveness, and recognition of legitimate but risky outside forces, that true leadership is found. Leaders that allow their institutions to become models of technocratic mechanics enjoy only short-term success, and he makes his point with accessible examples from industry, government, and the military.