How can we measure leadership? What makes a leader succeed or fail? Dr Mark Bennister at Canterbury Christ Church University has been gathering scholars together to investigate the idea of ‘leadership capital’ and offer a way to understand why some leaders ‘spend’ their ‘capital’ successfully and others squander or waste it. Dr Bennister is co-convenor of the PSA Political Leadership Specialist Group and is leading a section on political leadership at the 2015 ECPR general Conference in Montreal in August.
2014 was the year of ‘Capital’ thanks to Thomas Piketty. Piketty’s weighty tome breathed new life into economic analysis of economic inequality. Capital, for Piketty is a stock – its wealth comes from what has been accumulated in all prior years combined. So what happens if we take a concept of accumulated capital and apply it to political leadership? This presents us with alternative method of understanding why political leaders succeed or fail, how they remain in office, and how they win elections.
If we take the definitions of capital by Piketty and others and apply them to leadership we can think of political capital as a stock of ‘credit’ accumulated Continue reading