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An introduction to public leadership
An introduction to public leadership

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3.5 Summary and conclusion

A flock of geese flying across the sky in a V-shaped formation.
Figure 6

As you have gathered from this course, public leadership is a relatively new field of study, based on a range of concepts and ideas informed closely by the work of practitioners. It builds on some of the traditional foundations of the study and practice of leadership, such as the development of styles and skills based on well-established theory, while identifying the distinctive features and problems of leading in the public sphere. Chief among these distinctive features are the role of public value, skills of political astuteness, and the complex nature of the problems of public service provision, requiring the construction of multiple stakeholder organisational arrangements like multi-disciplinary teams, multi-agency partnerships and cross-boundary leadership.

These features have been helpfully illustrated from the practitioner perspective by the interviewees drawn from our partner organisations in The Open University’s Centre for Policing Research and Learning [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , many of whom are also involved – through research and course development – in expanding the field with new knowledge about public leaders and their work. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for their commitment and enthusiastic participation in the making of this course.

While the principal aim of the course has been to offer you useful learning about this exciting new area of public leadership, we hope you have been inspired to take your own studies in leadership and management further with The Open University, or simply to explore, though our website, the innovative work of The Open University Business School’s Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise, its associated Centre for Policing Research and Learning, and the Centre for Voluntary Sector Learning.