3 Leadership

In this section, we introduce you to three ideas about leadership in collaborative contexts:

  • champions from all levels maintain collaboration in spite of its challenges
  • integrative leadership highlights the significance of designing structures and processes to achieve the shared purposes of collaborating organisations
  • leading in inter-organisational contexts is a continual process of negotiation and trade-offs between competing tensions.

(This course can only offer a brief introduction to these ideas. You can read more in Crosby and Bryson (2005) and Huxham and Vangen (2005) – both are very readable books with a strong practice focus.)

Each of these approaches has something different to offer – each may be appropriate and useful in particular circumstances. Indeed, these approaches may overlap in practice, but they are kept separate here for the sake of offering different ideas you may find useful. A key point to note is that inter-organisational collaboration is characterised by organisational identities – differences in purpose, culture and practice – and competing as well as shared interests, which may be significant for leadership.

2.2 A service user perspective

3.1 Challenges for champions