An introduction to public leadership
An introduction to public leadership

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An introduction to public leadership

Week 1: What is public leadership?


Welcome to Week 1 of An introduction to public leadership. In this course, you will be exploring the concepts and debates surrounding leadership in ‘the public sphere’. Leadership is seen as important because it is often seen as a primary means of bringing about change and innovation in an organisation. But is this actually the case? And what do we mean by ‘public’ leadership?

In the following video, Mike Lucas interviews Jean Hartley, Professor of Public Leadership at The Open University, who introduces the idea of public leadership. She discusses what defines debates that take place in the public sphere and how these influence the priorities of public services.

In her research, Professor Hartley has focused on several of the distinctive features of public leadership – such as the public service and community context, the relationship of leaders’ work to democratic politics and the importance of a focus on public value. She has authored several key reports that inform government thinking on leadership in the public services, and is an influential voice in debates about change in the local government, health and policing sectors.

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_police_vid_1002.mp4
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Hello. I'm Mike Lucas from The Open University. I work for the Business School's Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise, at which, amongst other things, we research the topic of public leadership.
It all starts out here in communities like this up and down the country. This is just a small part of what we call the public sphere. But what does it mean to lead in the public sphere? And what makes leadership in public services so distinctive from other forms of leadership? I asked my colleague, Professor Jean Hartley.
The public sphere has been talked about by a number of academics as an important concept to describe the social space that people use to debate and argue and explore key issues of concern to the public. So that kind of social space may be happening in local communities, it may be happening on Twitter, it happens on television and things like the programme Question Time. So it's where people come together to really talk about what's important to them and what's the common good.
It's important for leadership in public services and police in particular because those kind of discussions and debates sometimes change the way that we feel about things and the priorities we give to particular public services. Let's take something like child sexual exploitation. It's partly been the debate in the public sphere, the increasing recognition that this is an important issue, that has made it a higher priority and actually has shifted quite substantially the work of a number of police forces.
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