Handbook on City and Regional Leadership
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Handbook on City and Regional Leadership

Edited by Markku Sotarauta and Andrew Beer

In this timely Handbook, people emerge at the centre of city and regional development debates from the perspective of leadership. It explores individuals and communities, not only as units that underpin aggregate measures or elements within systems, but as deliberative actors with ambitions, desires, strategies and objectives.
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Chapter 9: Combinatorial power and place leadership

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.

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