An introduction to public leadership
An introduction to public leadership

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3.3 Leadership for collaboration and partnership

Collaboration is not easy and is not just about seeking out a ‘win-win’ for everyone. Where public matters are concerned, outcomes and priorities, and even how problems are tackled, may vary across different parts of the public (e.g. how much force, how much regulation, how much invasion of privacy is seen as acceptable?). Depending on how the problem is framed, more or less of the burden of solving the problem will be laid on different shoulders.

Barbara Gray (1989) described collaboration as the process through which two or more actors engage in a constructive management of differences in order to define common problems and develop joint solutions based on provisional agreements that may co-exist with disagreement and dissent. This definition allows for the existence and sometimes the constructive role of conflict in trying to tackle problems. It means a leader needs to be politically astute in order to understand those differences and to be able to craft ways of seeing and dealing with problems.

In his book Understanding Public Leadership, Paul ’t Hart (2014) argues that this puts the leader less in a position of authority over others (vertical line management, for example) and more having to exercise horizontal leadership, operating through influence, persuasion and negotiation, and working to convene the appropriate groups to address the problem. This is a very different form of leadership where leadership may have to be exercised in situations where no-one is wholly in charge, and where interdependent action from the private, public and voluntary sectors may be needed.

We conclude our study of public leadership by returning to the theme of public value, and how it may be created or enhanced through collaboration between different areas of the public services. At various points in this course, our panel of police leaders have made reference to this, but here they emphasise how vital collaboration is for effective public leadership that delivers public value.

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_police_vid_1050.mp4
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371