New book Political Management: The Dance of Government and Politics (Routledge) – research monograph by Jennifer Lees-Marshment, hard copy publication August 2020 ebook kindle available now

Political Management: The Dance of Government and Politics lays out the core tools to manage government, campaigns and parties. The first book to combine management concepts with politics and government, it provides core theories for what Political Planning, Political HR, Political Organising, Political Leadership and Political Reviewing involve, illustrated with high level political practitioner interviews, examples and political documents.

The text presents the 4 Ds of Political Management – Deliberating, Designing, Doing and Dancing – to convey that Political Management is more of a dance than a march. Even presidents and prime ministers do not have enough formal authority to control the myriad of practitioners, players, processes and policies involved in 21st century governance. In this book, the author demonstrates why political practitioners in campaign teams, parties, government departments and political offices need political management tools to utilise the resources they have available and overcome multiple obstacles that practical politics presents.

By offering a clear sense of what political management involves and providing the theoretical frameworks to be used in empirical research, this book will stimulate significant future study. It will be invaluable to practitioners, scholars and students in politics, government, policy, leadership, management, public administration, and political management.


  1. Introduction: The Importance and Nature of Political Management
  2. Political planning: designing and implementing organisational strategy in government, parties and campaigns
  3. Political organising: power, structure and culture in government, parties and campaigns
  4. Political HR: appointing and utilising staff and volunteers in government, parties and campaigns
  5. Political Leadership: using diverse power sources to exert influence in government, parties and Campaigns
  6. Political Reviewing: reflection and renewal in government, parties and campaigns
  7. Conclusion: Practicing and Researching Political Management


  • “Lees-Marshment’s book will surely become the seminal text in what is a burgeoning literature on political management. She rightly understands that because political managers make decisions and take actions within the public arena, the profession requires as deep of an understanding of partisan politics and coalitional diplomacy as it does of good business management principles. She also correctly distinguishes political management from public administration in that she acknowledges that government policy-making and administration are not without politics of their own. Her “4Ds” model of “deliberating, designing, doing, and dancing” aptly describes the challenges involved with successfully delivering on campaign promises and policy platforms. Through her interviews and her primary documents research, she provides substantial empirical evidence that supports her argument of the need for greater professionalization of the political management field. A truly excellent work–Lees-Marshment book should be read by anyone who is frustrated that governments never seem to be able to get things done.” – Associate Professor Lara M. Brown, Director, Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University, USA.
  • “Politics is a complex and high stakes undertaking, yet electoral candidates, elected officials and supporting staffers are often inexperienced and unprepared for crucial aspects of the job.  This book provides a valuable introduction to key aspects of political management which will benefit practitioners, students and researchers alike.” – Paul Wilson, formerly Director of Policy to the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, currently Associate Professor, Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
  • “In this innovative book Jennifer Lees-Marshment applies the tools of management to the work of politics. Through extensive research and real-life examples she shows how political practitioners of all kinds can improve their capabilities, essential if they are to meet the public policy challenges we face” – Professor Helen Sullivan, Director, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Australia
  • “Political advisors are the unseen navigators of the political world.  Their work is essential to keeping the ship of government running and on course – and ensuring their ministers don’t run aground. Yet very little has been documented about the key management role that advisors play.  So this research is overdue, and I warmly welcome it.” – Mike Munro, Former Chief of Staff to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
  • “In this wide-ranging and important study, Jennifer Lees-Marshment powerfully contends that in the hyper-complex twenty-first century there is no effective political leadership in the absence of skillful political management. Indeed, the tools to manage government presented here look set to become a key resource for presidents and prime ministers worldwide. Essential reading for scholars and political practitioners alike.” — Professor Ludger Helms, University of Innsbruck, and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Political Executives.

Related earlier work

Begun in 2016, this project created the conceptual architecture to define what political management is and involves. This  connects business management concepts with political research, adapting theories to suit the political environment, much as I did with my first work on market-oriented political parties. The project scopes the field to enable empirical research which can inform future training.