European Public Leadership in Crisis?: Volume 3

Subject:

Table of contents

(17 chapters)
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List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Introduction

Pages xiii-xvii
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Purpose

The form of crisis-governance responses to austerity urbanism that is the focus of this paper is ‘fleet-of-foot’ partnerships. These non-statutory mechanisms which champion dispersed forms of leadership are crafted in policy discourse as lean, mean, crisis-tackling fighting machines. Their perceived agility and entrepreneurialism are often lauded, yet empirical evidence for these traits remains sparse. This paper investigates this concern through the lens of the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England, which are deemed by some to exude some of the defining characteristics of ‘fleet-of-foot’ mechanisms.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed method approach was utilised, including analysis of socio-economic datasets and qualitative policy analysis of primary and secondary material. The quantitative element includes analysis of employment and journey-to-work data, whereas the qualitative material originated from a review of LEP proposals, and narrative analysis of transcripts of interviews undertaken since 2010, together with other textual artefacts.

Findings

The findings reveal that dispersed public leadership is problematic as a mode of crisis-governance. LEPs were adopted as a crisis-governance fix. These loose (or looser) constellations of many, varied actors, are considered to be more flexible, responsive and delivery-orientated than more traditional and statutory democratic-administrative mechanisms: lean, mean, crisis-tackling fighting machines. Flexibility is a primary trait of ‘fleet-of-foot’ configurations and perhaps the defining feature of LEPs.

Research limitations

The programme of research remains on-going, which reflects the continual shifts in the form and configurations of LEPs.

Practical implications

Detecting some of the primary weaknesses of ‘fleet-of-foot’ public leadership arrangements, the research draws attention to some of the dangers of pushing austerity down and through ‘fleet-of-foot’ formations. The practical implications are highlighted by examining the limits of LEPs to achieve efficient outcomes or to open up a shared leadership space.

Originality/value

Through an engagement with current conceptual and policy debates where austerity ‘blows out’ across Europe, it is observed that austerian politics may be pushing partnership bodies too far, thus risking the danger of overburdening and under-resourcing the very distributed leadership mechanisms that are expected to reconcile local economic crises and stimulate local growth. This paper also contributes to the literature on dispersed public leadership, which runs counter to traditional command and control leadership constructs.

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advance the understanding of the choices and difficulties at a city level that faced public leaders who were trying to pursue economic regeneration while at the same time coping with austerity policies introduced by national government.

Design/methodology/approach

We are using a case study approach to assess both the type of strategic leadership being offered and the public governance issues faced by Liverpool City.

Findings

In terms of leadership, the mayor fitted what we describe in the paper as the pragmatic type of strategic leader (long-term perspective providing foresight, and inclusiveness in formulating strategy and plans). The directly elected mayoral system seemed to have a number of advantages, perhaps the key one being that the mayor, acted for the entire city, rather than being the leader of the city council as he was before. New channels of social dialogue had been opened up, especially with the business community. The major difficulties in governance were the overstretched entrepreneurial and strategic capacity of the centre of the council and a lack of coherence in terms of multi-level governance.

Social implications

The approach to public leadership in Liverpool represents a major break from the past; it was a widening of political inclusiveness to embrace people with a range of political perspectives. It was also a major break from the past in terms of building good relations between public leaders and business leaders. The prize was economic regeneration to create a better platform for social and economic inclusiveness.

Purpose

This is a paper about the soft and hard drivers for English sub-national governance. It posits that the recurrence of claims for inter-urban linkages across the two distinct conurbations of the North-West of England have been bedevilled by entrenched differences in the leadership cultures of the city-regions.

Design/methodology/approach

It contrasts the highly localised forms of ‘soft power’ – or the ways in which leaders mobilise brands, plans and strategies to tell stories about place – arguing that there is a considerable divergence between the way that this symbolic capital has been deployed within and across the two city-regions. Whilst this is striking it is still true that ‘Hard powers’ – fiscal, legislative or regulatory mechanisms – are elusive for both Manchester and Liverpool notwithstanding recent moves towards combined authorities for both places. The only model of English urban governance with statutory powers covering transport, economic development and planning is located in Greater London, a legacy of the post-RDA institutional landscape in England.

Findings

This paper argues that it would be extraordinary if forms of leadership capable of meaningfully connecting the two cities cannot be found but that this must be seen within a sclerotic English context where there is a huge disconnect between desirable form and functions of urban governance, and the effect this has on regional economic performance. It concludes that local government austerity has had a negative effect on the sort of ‘soft power innovations’ necessary in both cities and that rhetorics of English localism have provided neither a propitious context for inter- nor intra-urban governance innovation.

Value/originality

This paper seeks to describe some of the ways in which collaborations within the city-regions of Manchester and Liverpool have been achieved, making the case that there have been divergent governance experiments which may hamper the aspiration for extensions beyond their border and for intra-urban leadership and governance which combines the two great cities and their areas of influence.

Purpose

Europeanization involves institutional development as well as the adaptation of Member States policy and regulation towards EU directed expectations and transformations.

Design/methodology/approach

Europeanization provides a means of mapping, analysing changes and enables a starting point for developing leadership strategies within the EU.

Findings

Through discourse, leaders in the EU and Member States continue to consider issues relating to late capitalism, democratic accountability and the efficiency and effectiveness of socio-economic models and problems regarding these when assessing the changing role of the nation-state in a transforming global environment.

Research limitations/implications

Even though a transformation in leadership and discourse became apparent to ensure the continuation of the Eurozone the research does not clearly map how far treaty amendments will enable closer fiscal and political integration.

Originality/value

Europeanization is conceptualised on a number of different levels; initially it may be considered as an extension of ideas relating to civil constitution and international law through recognition and dialectical or transformational discourse. Second, Europeanization may be seen as the means by which EU polity provisions affect Member States or as an important mechanism for the development of EU structures/institutions and cultural transformation. Through transformations in discourse propagated by the leadership an intensification of Europeanization in terms of content, mechanism and processes became apparent.

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Purpose

This paper aims to explore the behaviour of city managers in the ongoing context of city leadership in Italy where there are high levels of political, economic and social turbulence.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was administered to 140 Italian city managers, with a response rate of 56%. The main research questions were the following: Who are the Italian city managers? How do they spend their time? Are their actions influenced by political, administrative, management and/or governance-related pressures?

Findings

The results depicted Italian city managers as caged leaders. They feel like they are capable of soaring to great heights outside the boundaries of their organisations, but they are constrained by their day-to-day organisational activities.

Originality/value

This paper offers new empirical insights into the different leadership activities carried out by Italian city managers discussing the differences between the time devoted to some activities and the perception of their leadership style.

Purpose

Great Britain is a laboratory for new techniques of public management; it is therefore an interesting place to look at for people willing to get involved in large public organisations. The French ‘institute for local studies’, trains future professionals, selected after graduation or after a working experience, in order to take high positions in local authorities nationwide. Three pairs of trainees belonging to the 2012–2013 group spent two weeks in three local authorities in England, with the purpose of analysing the performance management in these organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

British and French scholars dedicated to public organisations provided the six trainees with a global view of local government and reforms in the United Kingdom. After that, each pair exchanged information with the local authority they would visit; during the two weeks they spent there, an officer followed their works. They interviewed numerous professionals, elected members and unionists, attended meetings and events. Back in France, they presented their findings in several documents. The original subject was measuring and managing performance; in fact, the three pairs went farther and looked over many aspects of the organisations’ functioning.

Findings

Local authorities are facing important budget reductions and appear fragile; they put forward the idea of resilience to express the necessity of using all their resources to deal with a difficult situation. Elected members have a role of political initiative, but they also focus a lot on control, which is much more developed in Britain than in France; managers experience a very difficult period, with a lot of threats on their jobs, teams and projects. In this context, professional networks are very important; peer review is an interesting example of the role of professional exchanges in the search for new solutions. At last, unions don’t seek conflicts but try to accompany changes, lessening their negative consequences on people.

Originality/value

This work is not an academic one but an approach of the reality of organisations analysed by professionals or future professionals of the public sector, in a kind of ‘peer review’ between different countries. This international dimension is interesting, seeing that few in-depth comparisons between local authorities are made, especially between France and Britain.

Purpose

The paper examines aspects of not-for-profit leadership and in particular the importance of values in such leadership.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the literature for leadership in charities, not-for-profits and social enterprise, the paper also uses two detailed case studies to illustrate dilemmas and challenges specific to the not-for-profit sector. These examples are the Salvation Army and Emmaus, both of which are found across many countries.

Findings

The paper identifies the importance of value sets in not-for-profits – in particular the voluntarist element that especially distinguishes these organisations from those in the private and public sectors. However, it also identifies common ground between some aspects of not-for-profit leadership and those other sectors.

Originality/value

The paper furnishes a composite of literature on leadership reinforced by detailed case studies as well as observations on characteristics that both link and separate leadership in the different sectors.

Purpose

This paper analyses the radical reorganisation of English school sport by the coalition government, a move that led to the emergence of a significant discourse of dissatisfaction amongst school sport advocacy coalition groups.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper utilises Sabatier’s (Sabatier & Jenkins-Smith, 1999) Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) to identify how the coalition government’s decision to abolish the successful Physical Education School Sport and Club Links (PESSCL) programme has specifically weakened the power of formerly influential advocacy coalitions within the school sport arena. Weber’s (1947) conceptualisation of charisma, in particular, the concept of charismatic rhetoric, is used to explain how these historically extensive policy changes were communicated by the coalition government, and particularly, by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State.

Findings

Locating the government’s rhetoric within the charismatic literature allowed the exploration of how a disempowerment of advocacy coalition groups and centralisation of power towards the state might have been partly achieved via the use of charismatic rhetoric (Weber, 1947).

Originality/value

Javidan and Waldman (2003) identified a lack of rigorous empirical study of the role of charismatic leadership and its consequences in public sector leadership, a critique that has been addressed by this paper.

Conclusion

Pages 165-171
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DOI
10.1108/S2045-794420143
Publication date
2014-10-18
Book series
Critical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78350-901-0
eISBN
978-1-78350-902-7
Book series ISSN
2045-7944