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Collaboration for The Common Future? Integrative Public Leadership in Local Governance Practice

Cui, Tie; Osborne, Stephen


Tie Cui

Stephen Osborne


In today’s increasingly complex, fragmented and interdependent world, public managers are confronted by many major public issues which threaten the sustainable development of future human society. Addressing these ‘future public issues’ requires the long-term investment of public resources and longstanding cross-sector collaboration.
This article focuses on local carbon reduction projects aiming at resolving a typical ‘future public crisis’, climate change. We adopted the analytical viewpoint of integrative public leadership and focused on the discussion about the integrating process of different stakeholders in the broader territory of public governance. Drawing on the existing study of public leadership and value co-creation, this article explores the following question: under the uncertain background, how public leadership is enacted across the governance network and interact with the co-creation of value.
We empirically examined the implementation processes of three carbon reduction projects in Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). The database contains 36 semi-structured in-depth interviews with respondents from various organizations; 12 ethnographic observations, and almost 200 text or video documents. Qualitative coding is applied as the data analysing method, with the support of temporal bracketing strategy to decompose the chronological data into successive time periods. We provide the simplified synopsis of each case in tables and a synthetic portrait of the evolution over time of actors’ relationships and interactions.
The findings of this article involve four points. First, we constructed a three-stage model to describe the integrative leadership process, which identifies three stages of coordination between key leaders, network actors and external environment. Second, we summarize that, although previous studies largely emphasized the importance of the values consensus in terms of facilitating cross-sector collaboration, in the long-standing public governance, private values remain diversified. Third, in accordance with diversified private values, the individuals’ participation is fundamentally driven by the private value creation result or aspiration; and the private value creation chain, consisted by several small-wins, constitutes the essential condition of the integrative leadership process. Based on it, fourthly, we summarized three common links in one silngle small-win cycle: the value commitment, proposition and creation.
As a summary, a process model of the integrative public leadership process is constructed, with the aims of explaining the dynamics of leadership process and value co-creation in the longstanding public governance setting. We discuss how this model could respond to other literature in the field of integrative leadership, value co-creation and public governance in four aspects in the discussion and conclusion section.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name International Research Society for Public Management Conference (IRSPM)
Start Date Apr 16, 2019
End Date Apr 18, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 18, 2022
Public URL