Considering game theory to improve leadership in partnership working within the UK public services

Meaklim Timothy (Independent Management & Learning Consultant, Belfast, UK)

International Journal of Leadership in Public Services

ISSN: 1747-9886

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The purpose of this paper is to provide a perspective on one of the key complexities of collaboration and co-operative working in the public service within the UK.


The paper focuses the attention on the difficulty of partnership working at a time when leading collaboration is a necessity for all leaders in the public sector. It explores one area of this complexity, namely game theory in order to offer an explanation why departments or organisations find it difficult to co-operate as they should.


The paper allows leaders to understand the complexities of co-operation and the reason why there is often a tendency for individuals to act in a selfish manner on behalf of their organisation. Being aware of this behaviour will provide leaders with a greater ability to build trust and develop joint strategies which will provide positive outcomes.


The paper will highlight how greater understanding of game theory including the prisoner dilemma and the stag hunt can help improve leadership, relationships and outcomes within partnerships.



Meaklim, T. (2013), "Considering game theory to improve leadership in partnership working within the UK public services", International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, Vol. 9 No. 1/2, pp. 22-31.

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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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