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Who's in charge here?: A literature review of approaches to leadership in humanitarian operations

Research reports

Written by Paul Knox-Clarke

The last five years have seen a growth in interest in humanitarian leadership, amid growing concern that operations are often compromised by poor leadership

 This paper, which is the result of an extensive literature review, aims to go beyond analysis of individual skills and abilities and consider in more detail some important questions raised in the earlier report around the role of the organisation and of the group in ensuring effective leadership.

It considers some of the assumptions that we commonly make around operational leadership, and investigates the potential relevance of alternative approaches to leadership, and how they might be implemented in the international humanitarian system. In so doing, the paper creates some broad hypotheses, which we intend to test ‘in the field’, and in collaboration with members of the ALNAP network. As such, this paper is part of a process that aims to ensure that investments in improving the effectiveness of humanitarian leadership achieve the greatest possible impact.

Paul Knox-Clarke