Leadership in Search of Public Value: Hybrid Practices and Explorative Learning

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


    Purpose: This chapter takes its point of departure in the vision of educating public leaders and managers with the ability to create public value in a networked governance structure. The purpose of the chapter is to revise this vision by unpacking the notion of public value in contemporary governance and discuss the implications for public leadership and for public leadership and management programs.
    Design/methodology/approach: The chapter explores the notion of public value as a conceptual framework for emergent forms of networked governance. Drawing on insights from sociology of law and governmentality studies, a set of key tensions inherent in the public value discourse are identified as the diagnostic impetus to consider the somewhat excessive leadership figure put forward in the literature. The chapter shows that the discourse of networked governance and public value thinking is rather contested and imply a certain kind of hybridisation of public administration and public purpose into opposite identity spheres. Instead of forming a ‘whole system’ as suggested in the literature, the hybridisation implicates an ongoing suspension that allows the governance structure to become tense and unresolved. The hybridisation forms new dilemmatic spaces in contemporary governance, it is argued.
    Practical implications: The author suggests that public leadership should be considered as hybrid practices, formed around an ongoing search of ‘publics’ and images of ‘wholeness’ by way of oscillating between varying values and identities. This form of hybrid leadership calls for new explorative learning formats in public leadership programs, it is argued.
    Originality/value: The chapter undertakes a careful critical reading and conceptual examination of the current paradigm of public value management. By drawing on sociology of law and Foucault’s genealogy of rationalities of government the examination brings new insight into the doubled identities and dilemmatic spaces of contemporary governance and elaborates the concept of public leadership theorized as distributed and hybrid practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDeveloping Public Managers for a Changing World
    EditorsKlaus Majgaard, Jens Carl Ry Nielsen, John W. Raine, Bríd Quinn
    Number of pages24
    Place of PublicationBingley
    PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
    Publication date2016
    ISBN (Print)9781786350800
    ISBN (Electronic)9781786350794
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    SeriesCritical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management


    • Public value
    • Dilemmatic spaces
    • Hybrid leadership
    • Explorative learning

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