Collaborative leadership in EMU governance: a matter of cognitive proximity

Henriette Müller, Femke A.W.J. Van Esch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Collaborative leadership has stood at the heart of European politics since its inception. Yet EU scholars have only recently started to examine the concept and mainly from an institutional perspective. This article conceptualises the phenomenon of collaborative leadership from an actor-centered perspective. It explores a central condition for successful collaborative leadership identified in the literature: the existence of shared beliefs among the leaders involved. To do this, the article focuses on four events in the history of European Economic and Monetary Union. Using the method of cognitive mapping, the study establishes the extent of congruence in the beliefs on European integration and fiscal and monetary policy of the four leadership trios overseeing these events. On the basis of a survey of leading experts in the field, the article reveals that the level of cognitive proximity in leaders’ beliefs aligns with the perceived success with which the trios exerted collaborative leadership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1140
Number of pages24
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 28 2020


  • Collaborative leadership
  • Commission president
  • European Economic and Monetary Union
  • European integration
  • French president
  • German chancellor
  • cognitive mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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