Prime Minister leadership style and the role of parliament in security policy

Juliet Kaarbo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores how differences in prime ministers’ leadership styles may affect parliamentary influence in security policy. Drawing on work on personality differences in political psychology, I argue leadership style is a critical but often-overlooked factor in the growing area of research on parliaments and foreign affairs. My key argument is that prime ministers vary in how they respond to and manage parliamentary involvement in security policymaking. I propose Leadership Trait Analysis to capture prime ministers’ orientations toward parliamentary involvement and advance specific expectations for how personality traits translate into PM openness to parliamentary involvement, how active they will be in managing the process,and the effectiveness of their management. I examine the plausibility of my argument with intra-country comparisons of Turkish and UK prime ministers’ orientations toward parliament in specific cases of security policy. More generally, this paper challenges more formal-institutional approaches to parliaments’ role in security policy. A focus on prime ministers has an analytic advantage of bringing together some of the various factors (such as intraparty divisions and public opinion) to explain parliamentary influence in security policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • prime ministers
  • leadership style
  • personality
  • parliaments
  • security policy


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