Mutz Analysis

The book Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy by Mutz discusses relations between different democratic principles, powers and perception of freedoms by the state and citizens. In addressing these questions, this book assumes that political leaders do matter. It assumes that individuals do make a difference and that they are able to shape the course of the decision-making process. However, this book does not assume that individuals have complete freedom to shape policy outcomes. Instead, it takes as its basic assumption that all leaders are constrained in the extent to which they able to act freely. As such, it adopts an interactionist approach to the study of political leadership. Thesis  the political discussion is an aid to democracy as it unveils reality of modern life, illustrates different perceptions and principles of democratic powers and their ideological basis.

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Mutz vividly portrays that political leadership environment consists of relatively fixed institutional structures, long-term historical and social conditions and short-term social, economic and political demands. It is this systemic aspect of the leadership process which is captured by the cultural determinist approach. The proposed approach combines the personal and systemic aspects of the leadership process. It implies that political leaders operate within an environment which will both structure their behavior and constrain their freedom of action. At the same time, it also implies that political leaders do have the opportunity to shape the environment in which they operate, so giving them the potential to leave their mark upon the system. In the context of this study, it will be shown that Presidents and Prime Ministers are able to influence the decision-making process, but only in the ways that and to the extent that the leadership environment allows. Following Mutz, it becomes clear that the individuality of these clusters of personality traits means that each leader has the potential to affect the outcome of the policy process in a different way. There is the possibility that a change of political basis will bring about a change in the nature of the governmental decision-making process. It is partly for this reason that voters are sometimes motivated to place their trust in new leaders. There is the belief that a new leader may be better suited to cope with the prevailing leadership environment. There may be a better 'fit' between the personality of the new leader and the environment with which the leader is faced. Nevertheless, despite the uniqueness of each individual, it is still possible to generalize about the impact of the personality upon the decision-making process in democratic states. There are sufficient similarities between individuals to identify some of the various kinds of ambitions that leaders exhibit and the various ways in which they behave. Presidents and Prime Ministers operate within a framework of complex institutional structures, historical forces and societal demands. Mutz underlines that these institutions, forces and demands collectively comprise the leadership environment. This section briefly identifies the major elements of the leadership environment and examines the sorts of resources and constraints with which Presidents and Prime Ministers are faced. In so doing, it will introduce many of the themes and issues which will be encountered. The ways in which and the extent to which Presidents and Prime Ministers can influence the decision-making process is at least partly dependent upon the structure of resources within the executive branch of the central government. In order to introduce some of the main elements of enquiry, it is useful to identify four elements which provide these leaders with potential resources and constraints. The leadership process is affected by the distribution of constitutional and procedural powers. Constitutions establish disparities of power within political systems.

In sum, Mutz makes a contribution to political theory portraying unique vision of democracy and its impact on the state actors. While statesmen affect the structure of resources within the executive branch of government, they structure the leadership process outside this domain as well. Nevertheless, within the executive, statesmen may be in a position to benefit from constitutional resources or they may be limited by constitutional constraints.

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