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Dr Owain Smolovic-Jones
Owain's main research and teaching focus is leadership but he has a broad knowledge of organisation studies and human resource management. His current research explores collective, political and grassroots leadership through political, labour and environmental activism.
Owain is currently writing up a study of precarious hospitality workers who have taken industrial action. The project focuses on theorising a novel form of ‘precarious leadership’, the freedom and belonging precarious workers find within trade unions and the distinctive forms of gendered exploitation experienced by them at work. An ongoing project of mine is a study of the grassroots leadership of the Labour Party left, as he was fascinated by the drama and radical scale of the transformation of the UK’s main opposition party. A recent study of the resistance leadership of this faction was published by Human Relations. Owain is currently working on a series of papers and the outline of a book seeking to better understand the organisational potency of party factions. A recent study of his explored the experiences of MPs, Labour Party staff and members with the implementation of gender quotas.
Owain has published conceptual studies on critical approaches to leadership, particularly seeking to understand it as an aesthetic and culturally salient object and discourse. His paper on leadership romanticism has been influential in the field in widening critical engagement with leadership. His current interest in this area is in the commodification of leadership via the ‘industry’ of leadership and some of these ideas will be introduced in my forthcoming leadership textbook, co-authored with Keith Grint.
Owain is the director of the OU’s Research into Employment, Empowerment and Future of Work (REEF) academic centre of excellence. His current emphasis within the centre is on two large funding bids in partnership with the New Economics Foundation to develop and study grassroots policy for a just transition to a green economy. In addition, he is co-authoring a book, Guerrilla Democracy, which seeks to theorise the potential of technology to revolutionise resistance and grassroots movements. REEF is home to a range of academics, exploring ethics, gender and equality, technology, knowledge and learning from a future of work perspective.
His early research focused on how people develop leadership, an interest which helped me lead production of the OU’s undergraduate module, B208 Developing Leadership, and two bespoke leadership development courses for the voluntary sector.
Dr Owain Smolovic-Jones's activities
Browse 1 OpenLearn item Dr Owain Smolovic-Jones has worked on
Dr. Owain Smolovic Jones shows how boardroom quotas and all-women shortlists alone cannot change a culture of misogyny.
10 Feb 2017
Dr Owain Smolovic-Jones's Research & Publications
Owain Smolović Jones, Sanela Smolovic Jones and Keith Grint (2019-03-14) Understanding sovereign leadership as a response to terrorism: A post-foundational analysis, In Organization
David Collinson, Owain Smolović Jones and Keith Grint (2017) ‘No More Heroes’: Critical Perspectives on Leadership Romanticism, In Organization Studies 11(39)
Jennifer Lees-Marshment and Owain Smolović Jones (2018) Being more with less: Exploring the flexible political leadership identities of government ministers, In Leadership 4(14)
Brigid Carroll and Owain Smolović Jones (2018-04-01) Mapping the aesthetics of leadership development through participant perspectives, In Management Learning 2(49)
Keith Grint, Owain Smolović Jones and Clare Holt (2016-10-04) What is leadership: person, result, position or process, or all or none of these?, Routledge
Sanela Smolovic Jones et al. (2016-09-01) Putting the discourse to work: On outlining a praxis of democratic leadership development, In Management Learning 4(47)
Owain Smolović Jones, Keith Grint and Peter Cammock (2015-09) Public leadership development facilitation and the crossroads blues, In Management Learning 4(46)
Owain Smolović Jones and Brad Jackson (2015-05-06) Seeing leadership: becoming sophisticated consumers of leadership, Sage
Sanela Smolovic Jones et al. (2014) Theorising moral-collaborative leadership, or, direction-less-than-domination: Gramsci and beyond, In 13th International Studying Leadership Conference
Owain Smolović Jones and Keith Grint (2013-10-31) Essay: authentic leadership and history, Edward Elgar
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