Researching local leaders who must function under difficult circumstances, in disadvantage peripheral areas, is both complex and challenging topic. Theoretically speaking, one may argue that such peripheral places, by nature, are forced into a negative dynamic (being far from a metropolitan area, having low-level public services, selective migration, and so on). Such a situation may limit these local leaders’ opportunities to realize their visions and goals, to apply their personal capabilities and biographies in the public sphere. The present article rejects the above logic, suggesting a more humanistic perspective. In support of the suggested approach, this article summarizes the findings of a series of empirical studies that describe a wide range of leadership modes exercised by Israeli local leaders functioning under demeaning peripheral conditions from 1983 to 2017. The study shows that, despite their similar circumstances, these Israeli leaders were highly distinct in many ways. Different leadership typologies are discussed that were observed in the Israeli peripheries during those years: hierarchical vs. egalitarian, reactive vs. proactive, transactional vs. transformational, radical vs. pragmatic-reformer. On a broad theoretical level, the findings clearly indicate the need for explanations that go beyond the mere geographical-political context, delving into the humanistic sphere to study each leader’s unique personality and biography.
Part of the book: Leadership