Stephen Brookes (University of Manchester)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 9 February 2015



Brookes, S. (2015), "Editorial", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 11 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-01-2015-0001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Public Leadership, Volume 11, Issue 1

I am delighted to introduce the first issue of the re-launched journal within the context of its new title International Journal of Public Leadership. The Guest Editorial of the last issue outlined the reason for change in relation to both the title and the emphasis of the journal; public leadership is more about leading in the public interest rather than the leadership of public services. This involves leading across all sectors and not just those traditionally viewed as public services. Key aims are to include papers from both academics and practitioners in relation to new approaches to researching leadership and the impact of research on the practice of public leaders.

In this first issue of 2015, the new emphasis of the journal is reflected in the four papers contained within it. Each paper has a different focus in relation to the leadership context explored. The first two papers provide differing perspectives on the use of research tools for exploring the impact of public leaders in two different contexts. The two final papers provide perspectives on the wider context of leadership in terms of its spiritual aspects and the salient features of politics, respectively.

The first paper considers a new approach for evaluating situational leadership through the Kano model based on a study of university students in the Middle East. Acknowledging that situational leadership theory has been criticized for its lack of empirical support, the authors explore the potential offered by the Kano model in terms of the ability of leaders to satisfy customers’ needs. This is based on the assumption that university lecturers are assumed as leaders of their students. The paper highlights some interesting perspectives in terms of the different leadership styles adopted for different levels of student from under-graduate through to doctoral students and suggest that the findings can be used as a guideline for lecturers in leading and motivating students.

The second paper examines practical opportunities through the use of a tool for public services research and development within the context of leading children's services. The authors explore two key threads concerning how the motivated actions of leaders in different levels in public services are revealed and scrutinized; the demands that arise from innovation and change in professional practices and how research responsibly informs practice. The research tool provides an opportunity to link practitioners’ actions with their professional aims through empirical research that brings together practice, activity and action to allow an exploration of connections between motives inherent in specific actions, everyday activities and longer term strategic aims. The paper also points to its utility as a reflective tool for senior managers in a group of English schools involved in a small study of innovation in school leadership.

Resilience provides a conceptual focus of the third paper, which considers resiliency inquiry from a number of different perspectives. It particularly draws on practical lessons from survivors living in high-risk situations. The author argues that the spiritual component is the most complex and contentious within the holistic perspective of physical, emotional and social resilience and yet it is both neglected and underdeveloped. The component is explored within the context of the police community and its’ leadership, which appears to be significantly underdeveloped in terms of police resilience. The author concludes that the component of spirituality applies universally across leadership contexts and that one of the key practical questions for leaders is to determine how they might bring this into the workplace. The paper finishes with a call for further research in relation to the practical application, benefits and difficulties of the holistic approaches, which embrace the spiritual dimension.

In the final paper the author reviews a number of leadership approaches but focuses primarily on transformational leadership. The paper specifically analyzes the salient features of Jinnah's leadership within the context of his political leadership of Pakistan, and his political maneuvers, taking account of both espoused leadership theory and theory-in-use. The author concludes that although Jinnah successfully earned the title of Quaid-e-Azam and Father of the Nation after partition, his successes were more to do with political transactions rather than positive transformational change.

The four papers each provide interesting perspectives in considering the notion of leading in the public interest. All papers take note of the importance of transferring leadership into practice and the evaluation of its impact. In particular, the papers emphasized the importance of identifying public need through expectations and aligning motivation to action and in terms of both spiritual and collective transformational change. Although some of the examples illustrated a more single-minded or individualized approach to leadership, in each case useful proposals are made for the continued development of tools and techniques in improving leadership practice alongside suggested areas for further research. We hope to encourage further submissions that focus on the increasingly important value of leading in the public interest.

Stephen Brookes

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