A Process Leadership Analysis of the Shadow Narco-State
: A Case Study of the Tivoli Gardens Community and Christopher “Dudus” Coke

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In this new globalised era, the ability of transnational criminal organisations (hereafter TCOs) to bypass national borders with their illicit crimes has become a pressing phenomenon within the international arena. While mass media and academia have extensively publicised the ability of TCOs to challenge the security of the state through their criminal activities and interactions within the local communities in which they operate, the leadership dimensions which underpin these challenges is largely unexplored. This thesis aims to contribute to this academic gap and provide an illuminating analysis of the dark side of leadership by examining the ability of transnational criminal organisations to secure the loyalty of communities over their commitment to the state. Using the case study of the Tivoli Gardens community and Christopher “Dudus” Coke this thesis adopts a process-based leadership framework in order to analyse how the interaction between leaders, followers and context, enables TCOs to secure the loyalty of communities over their commitment to the state. As one of Jamaica’s most notorious drug dons, renowned for his “Robin Hood” like activities in the Tivoli Gardens community, the case of Christopher “Dudus” Coke leader of the Shower Posse is one that has attracted global attention. With the main research question of this thesis being “Why are transnational criminal organisations able to secure the loyalty of communities over their commitment to the state?”, this thesis establishes the following three research objectives: (1) To examine the evolution of TCOs in the 21st Century and its impact on the Jamaican State (2) To explore the leadership emergence of “Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke” in the Tivoli Gardens Community in Jamaica (3) To investigate the exchange of influence between Coke and the Tivoli Gardens community in relation to the community’s exchange with the Jamaican State. By exploring the following research objectives this thesis concludes that the rising prominence of TCOs in the international system as well as Jamaica’s distinctive state society dynamic provided a unique environment which enabled Coke and the Shower Posse to dominate the leadership space in the Tivoli Gardens community. With Coke’s simultaneous exercise of all seven bases of social power noted in the thesis and the combined assigned and emergent nature of his leadership emergence producing a distinct leadership process, thus securing the loyalty of the Tivoli Gardens community over their innate commitment to the Jamaican state. In understanding the unique leadership dynamics presented by this illuminating case study this thesis aims to contribute to future academic literature focusing on the interaction between TCOs, states and societies through a leadership lens.
Date of Award1 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorFunmi Olonisakin (Supervisor) & Ekaette Ikpe (Supervisor)

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