The (Unintended) Consequences of New Labour: Party Leadership vs Party Management in the British Labour Party

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

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The (Unintended) Consequences of New Labour: Party Leadership vs Party Management in the British Labour Party


  • Emmanuelle Avril Département du Monde Anglophone, Sorbonne Nouvelle University, France


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Abstract:  This article draws from the fields of political science and of organisational studies to explore the short-term and long-term impact of New Labour’s party management on the quality of party processes as well as on party reputation. It is based on the long-term ethnographic participant observation of the Labour Party at local and regional levels, as well as national events such as annual conferences. The article starts by identifying the distinctive features of New Labour’s party management. It then examines the “unintended consequences” of this brand of party management, showing this model to be mainly self-defeating. The final section provides a general assessment of the impact of New Labour’s party management from the perspective of organisational learning and innovation. Overall the article stresses the long-term poisonous effects of this brand of leadership and management on political organisations and on politics in general.

Keywords:  Labour Party; leadership; management; New Labour; organisational learning; unintended effects

Published:   23 June 2016


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v4i2.534


© Emmanuelle Avril. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.