Strengthening Local Political Leadership through Institutional Design: How and Why

Tina Øllgaard Bentzen, Christian Lo, Marte Winsvold*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Over recent decades, the institutions of political leadership have been criticised for being caught up in outdated designs that are not adapting to societal changes. In many western countries, this diagnosis has spurred design reforms aimed at strengthening political leadership at the local level. Based on a study of reforms in Norwegian and Danish municipalities, this article first develops a typology of reforms aimed at strengthening local political leadership. Leadership reforms are categorised into four types aimed at strengthening Executive, Collective, Collaborative, or Distributive political leadership. The typology is used to map the prevalence of the different types of reforms in the two countries. The results show that design reforms as such are more widespread in Danish than in Norwegian municipalities. In particular, reforms aimed at strengthening Distributive political leadership are used more extensively in Denmark than in Norway. The article discusses the contextual differences that may explain this variation.
Translated title of the contributionStyrkelse af lokalt politisk ledersakb gennem institutionelt design: Hvorfor og Hvordan?
Original languageEnglish
JournalLocal Government Studies
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)483-504
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Important note from the Publisher regarding the attached version of the article: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Local Government Studies on 16 Nov 2019, available online:”


  • Local government
  • Political leadership
  • Institutional design
  • Reforms

Cite this