In this article we discuss the development of city regional governance leadership in two sub-regions of the North East of England, and use Local Enterprise Partnerships as the key unit of analysis. We examine empirical data on the institutional framework, power relations, social capital and levels of trust to gain a deeper understanding of the processes involved in leading governance networks. In doing so, the main aim is to challenge existing models of heroic leadership, in particular those embodied in existing leadership theories. Any attempt to understand leadership needs to appreciate that it is a complex social phenomena, lacking clear boundaries and where clear definitions are likely to be elusive (Antonakis et al, 2004). Leadership can be meaningfully analysed from a variety of perspectives as it is a multi-dimensional, multi-level and complex concept (Chen et al, 2007, Bass, 1990). Furthermore, the focus can move from individual to group levels, motives, styles and behaviours, situations and other aspects. For Northouse leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group or individual to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2010) but there it is generally agreed that there is no single definition of leadership (Yukl, 2009). In analysing some of the processes of leadership in governance networks, we emphasise the importance of complexity, power relations and development of trust, by revisiting some classic texts on leadership and authority (Weber), power (Lukes), and Urban Regime Theory (Stone) to illustrate how leaders mediate between public, private and other sectoral interests in that 'amorphous' gap between formal regulation and informal inter-relationships and connections. The paper is organised as follows. An introduction to LEPs and city regions in England is followed by a section examining existing models of strategy and leadership, then a comparative analysis of leadership in two governance networks, the NELEP and Tees Valley LEP, facilitates discussion on how leaders bridge formal and informal elements of economic development and develop trust, social capital and power relationships within specific institutional contexts. We then revisit some classic political texts as exploratory aids to challenge perceived notions of leadership. We conclude by offering a more robust understanding of collective/distributed leadership as a key to driving urban and regional change.
|Publication status||Published - 5 May 2013|
|Event||Regional Studies Association European Conference 2013 (Shape and be Shaped: The Future Dynamics of Regional Development) - Tampere, Finland|
Duration: 5 May 2013 → …
|Conference||Regional Studies Association European Conference 2013 (Shape and be Shaped: The Future Dynamics of Regional Development)|
|Period||5/05/13 → …|