From Politics to Business: How Wide Is the Leadership Gap?

  • Chris O’Riordan
  • Patrick C. Flood
  • Felicity Kelliher
  • Malcolm Higgs


The chapter examines the transition made by a prominent political leader (Roland Koch) to become CEO of a very large publicly listed construction group in Germany. The chapter highlights the importance for an outsider of gaining the acceptance of insiders. An entry strategy for outsider leaders is discussed that entails adopting a “deep dive” into the business, as is the value of attaining alignment behind a common objective. The importance of prior experience for the outsider and the need to leverage this wisely is considered, as is the merit of maintaining a degree of internal stability in the key early stages of transition. Outsider leaders can expect to be resisted and challenged by others, which needs to be contemplated. At times these challenges can be helpful and constructive, but not when they are of a disruptive nature. The chapter ends with a conclusion and a reflection on its content.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris O’Riordan
    • 1
  • Patrick C. Flood
    • 2
  • Felicity Kelliher
    • 1
  • Malcolm Higgs
    • 3
  1. 1.School of BusinessWaterford Institute of TechnologyWaterfordIreland
  2. 2.DCU Business SchoolDublin City UniversityDublinIreland
  3. 3.Hull University Business SchoolUniversity of HullHullUK

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