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Public and political leadership (Pupol)

Panel 3: Public and Political Leadership (PUPOL): New avenues in leadership research in public administration and political science

Chaired by: Leonie Heres, MSc (RU), dr. Karin Lasthuizen (VU), dr. Sandra Resodihardjo (RU), dr. Sabina Stiller (WUR)

There is an increasing academic interest in leaders and how they do their job. Within the public and political domain, leadership plays a pivotal role when it comes to affecting change and protecting public values. Research on leadership in general has helped us gain insight into how leaders work, how they affect their environment and their environment affects them in turn. Still, much remains to be discovered when it comes to public and political leadership. That is why we are organizing a panel focusing on public and political leadership.

This panel theme is connected to two of the four NIG research programme themes. First, leadership in all its facets remains an important theme in public management settings, both for management within organizations and in the broader context of public sector reform. Second, leadership is relevant to the ‘multi-actor governance settings in complexity’ assuming that complex multi-actor networks have a need for steering beyond day-to-day management, both in procedural terms and in terms of their substantive objectives.

Considering the panel’s focus on public and political leadership, we invite scholars to present their research on leadership. We welcome a broad range of conceptual and/or empirical papers focusing on leadership in the public and political domain. The aims of the panel are to: (1) get leadership researchers together to discuss their current research; and (2) explore new avenues for research on leadership in the public and political domain. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The characteristic and distinctive features of leadership in public administration and politics, as compared to leadership in organizations in general;
  • The role and value of leadership in an era of multi-actor governance;
  • Manifestations of leadership in public-private partnerships and other inter-organizational networks with public objectives;
  • The effects of leadership on the achievement of public and political objectives;
  • Changing needs and expectations for leadership in public and political contexts in response to new socio-economic developments;
  • Conceptual and methodological innovations in public and political leadership research and how they can help to improve general theories of leadership;
  • The extent to which the public context affects the way we do leadership research in public administration and political science.

The panel welcomes members of the PUPOL colloquium as well as other interested scholars.

The PUPOL colloquium is currently preparing a special issue proposal on leadership and innovation. Papers presented at the public and political leadership panel at the 2014 NIG Annual Work Conference that fit this theme may be considered for the special issue.


Leonie Heres, Department of Business Administration, Radboud University Nijmegen,

Karin Lasthuizen, Department of Governance Studies, VU University Amsterdam,

Sandra Resodihardjo, Department of Public Administration, Radboud University Nijmegen,

Sabina Stiller, Public Administration and Policy Group, Wageningen University,

Questions about this panel can be directed to Leonie Heres (