Leading in the Shadows: understanding administrative leadership in the context of COVID-19 pandemic management in Bangladesh

This study examines the COVID-19 pandemic management system in Bangladesh, and the role played by various bureaucratic leaders both at the national and local levels. Particular attention is paid to the interface between the health sector and administrative leaders. The role played by frontline public servants and their superiors is also examined. Also, an attempt is made to encapsulate lessons learned from the crisis and the ways to prepare for the next one.     

This study is based on secondary data and observation by the author as well as insights from the author’s 36 years of experience in the Bangladesh bureaucracy.  Administrative leadership is conceptualized as bureaucrats appointed to administrative positions and discharging administrative duties both at the national and local levels.

The study draws on observations, experiences, and insights pertaining to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic from the author’s long association with the Bangladesh administrative system. Its intended users are researchers and practitioners of public leadership.