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Edited by Markku Sotarauta and Andrew Beer

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Markku Sotarauta and Andrew Beer

This chapter frames the handbook by discussing the concept of leadership and its place in city and regional development and discussing briefly the conceptual variety in the study of city and regional leadership. City and regional leadership are discussed by using the notion of ‘place leadership’ as an umbrella concept, capturing many conceptualisations. Place leadership is defined as the mobilisation of key resources, competencies and powers; it is argued that mobilisation is one of the core concepts in place leadership. Relatedly, all leadership studies set in a sub-national context show that leadership is more relational and collaborative rather than heroic and individualistic. Therefore, in any study on place leadership, it is crucial to understand its relationship with governance, economic and geographical structures. The contextual nature of place leadership is one of the cornerstones in a study of its many dimensions. The chapter also discusses who place leaders might be in varying contexts. In conclusion, the key questions in a study of city and regional development are introduced.

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Andrew Beer, Markku Sotarauta and Karen Ayles

The notion of place leadership with its many names has attracted increasing interest in scholarly communities. This chapter paints a picture of the spread and depth of contemporary place leadership studies. It presents the main results of a literature review that was undertook in January and February 2020. The research questions were: How has the study on place leadership evolved and, more specifically, what are the empirical contexts these studies focus on, what kind of methodologies have been exploited? Also, what are the main observations? The chapter adds to existing research on place leadership by providing the first systematic review of academic literature on leadership in its many territorial and spatial forms. The chapter concludes: (a) there is a need to develop substantially the theoretical and methodological basis for the study of place leadership; (b) comparative research designs involving case studies are an effective way of identifying the linkages between urban and regional growth and leadership; (c) research on place leadership is well positioned to inform policy makers and development practitioners at different levels on how to improve leadership capacity in, and for, a range of governance settings, leadership practices and capabilities.

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Alyson Nicholds

Place Leadership, as ‘a specific form of leadership at the urban and regional scale’ is considered central to urban and regional growth because it brings together actors from different backgrounds, operating at different scales and with differing levels of power and authority, to work in partnership with others, who may not share their ideological views or business interests. But despite knowing much about what leaders do in organisations and where matters of governance might sit, we’ve never fully understood ‘what it is that place leaders actually do to make things happen at the sub-national scale’. In this chapter, I return to the Organisation Studies literature to see how leadership is ‘actually conceptualised’ and use this to analyse ‘actually existing’ case of place leadership, to show how these specific talents, need to differ, in different contexts, in order to get the job done. What this shows, is that, in keeping with Critical Management, it is only through discursive analysis of place leaders’ accounts of their practice, that we are able to reveal how these attributes and processes ‘actually come together’. This is in keeping with the observations of Beer (2015) that we will only succeed in our efforts to better align policy to the specificity of place, by acknowledging that regions are construed both materially and discursively through a myriad of processes (Lagendijk 2007).

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Alessandro Sancino, Leslie Budd and Michela Pagani

Place leadership is a concept which is emerging more prominently in several academic disciplines but especially for use in a critically constructive way in the fields of regional and urban studies, public governance, organisation and leadership studies and politics and international relations. This chapter aims to draw connections between place leadership on one side and the concepts of politics and policy-making on the other. We believe that establishing a connection between these concepts is important for shedding light on the public side of place leadership, with its related implications –in terms of both opportunities and constraints - for a broader theorisation on place leadership. The chapter proposes three conceptual recommendations. Firstly, the study of place leadership should better acknowledge the complexity of an increasingly distributed and interconnected role for leaders in leadership and the powerful role of media and social networks in framing scenarios and possibilities for place leadership. Secondly, it seems crucial to re-centre the political and socio-cultural dimensions embedded in any arena for place leadership rather than just considering its economic dimension. Thirdly, greater attention should be paid to considering the importance of civil society and citizen participation.

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John Gibney and Alyson Nicholds

In this reflective essay, we seek to stimulate new debate on the social purpose of place leadership. We begin by considering the meaning and relevance of purpose in the formal leadership endeavour, and the likely nature of social purpose in place leadership in the face of multiple meanings. We use this discussion as a basis for exploring what a more emancipatory leadership stance might comprise and pose four awkward questions concerning our imagining of what an emancipatory-oriented place leadership might look like in practice. Insights are drawn from a range of interdisciplinary literatures, including critical leadership, organizational studies, management learning and sub-national development. In keeping with the need for greater critical reflection, we seek to combine broad theoretical insights with our own reflections on the practice(s) and action(s) of place leadership, from our ongoing empirical observations of leaders in our own research, and our prior professional experiences as economic, regional and community development practitioners.

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Oto Potluka

The current crisis of trust in official institutions raises a question on how individual political leaders are capable to manage regions in interaction with other stakeholders and not to lose their trust. Thus, in our research, we concentrate on how we can conceptualize formal and informal structures and their leadership together with producing public services and policy-making. We collected data from the implementation of the Integrated Urban Development Plans in the Czech Republic and Spain to analyse interactions among formal and informal leaders in the co-creation and co-production of public services. Our results show that the form of collaboration among stakeholders is highly individualised. Without a willingness to collaborate, formal leadership based on political power limits co-production and co-creation. On the other side, informal leadership in the shape of voluntary civic engagement by individuals and through partnerships appears together with strong interests or urgent issues.

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Hans-Hermann Albers and Lech Suwala

The management of urban and rural areas has always consisted of a mixture of state, market and civil society actors. In times of increased liberalization, deregulation and privatization of many former state-dominated tasks, limited institutional capabilities of smaller communities, a lack of consolidated government bodies and low effectiveness of authorities, there exists a greater interest for non-state ‘place-based’ economic engagement in general, and for private-sector involvement and leadership in regional governance in particular. This chapter introduces approaches to enterprise-driven urban and regional engagement. Empirically, the chapter summarizes existing case studies from the literature on enterprise-driven urban and regional engagement and asks if and how place leadership initiatives interact with corporate social responsibilities. In conclusion, the chapter suggests it is desirable to explicitly include the private sector in place leadership roundtables in order to create tri-sectoral negotiations.

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Robin Hambleton

A consequence of globalisation is that place-less leaders, meaning people who are not expected to care about the consequences of their decisions for particular places and communities, have gained extraordinary power and influence. This chapter examines the way various structural forces shape the political space available to city and city region leaders. A conceptual framework, New Civic Leadership, is presented. This aims to throw light on the way local leaders co-create new solutions to public problems by uniting the efforts of the various realms of leadership found within a place. Attention then turns to consider the reasons why city and regional leaders are becoming increasingly active in international city-to-city networking, learning and exchange. A discussion of the emergence and development of two relatively new international city groupings, the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) and the Mayors Migration Council (MMC), helps to identify challenges and insights for leadership ‘beyond place’ and, more specifically, the potential of city diplomacy for advancing the power of place in the modern world.

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Markku Sotarauta

This chapter presents a theoretical framework for understanding place leadership and combinatorial power. Place leadership is defined as the mobilization and coordination of diverse groups of actors to achieve a collective effort aimed at enhancing the development of a specific place. Place leadership is a form of agency that works across institutional, organizational, geographical and/or sectoral boundaries to boost local/regional development. The framework presented in this chapter highlights the need to understand power from a combinatorial perspective when studying place leadership. First, the negative and positives sides of power are discussed to provide a conceptual context for the chapter. Second, the connections between power and mobilization are explored, and third, the institutional, network and cognitive approaches to power are introduced. Consequently, fourth, it is argued that we need to understand how different forms of power are combined instead of focusing solely on the cumulative nature of institutional power, and for that purpose, a schematized combinatorial power typology is presented.