PUPOL Blog: Karin Lasthuizen
A year ago, we looked back at a wonderful 4th international PUPOL conference in Wellington, New Zealand. The conference theme “Collaborative Leadership for a Sustainable Future” could not have been more suitable - unbelievable how our environment has changed in a short time as a result of COVID-19 and we could not imagine facing a crisis situation like this worldwide.
I hope you and your whanau are all healthy and safe, and I wish you strength in the time to come. I also hope to seeing you soon at the upcoming PUPOL Conference, on 15-16 October 2020 in the Netherlands under much better circumstances.
Our PUPOL community seems more important than ever before. Political and public leaders need to find different ways to deal with the pandemic, and science has become an important source of advice for (most of) our leaders. However, where medical facts could be universal, it seems important in the recommendation of policy approaches to consider that there may be no "one-size-fits all" but that it depends on the local context.
The Power of Place in Public Leadership Research
I warmly invite you to read Brad Jackson’s essay "The power of place in public leadership research and development" for our PUPOL special issue of the International Journal of Public Leadership, which captures his excellent keynote speech at last year’s conference.
Brad argues that although the importance of place and place leadership is often acknowledged in our research findings or limitations, we - as public leadership researchers – seem far more interested in creating generalisable truths and theories. By contrast, he argues that "the relationship between place and leadership is a vital one (…)" and "in actively considering place and purpose in an inter-related manner, we are inevitably forced to consider "what matters" and, in the process, we can provide a more impactful research response to the full suite of societal leadership challenges."
Brad rightly quotes Grint and Holt (2011, p. 97): "Place literally brings the flighty realms of leadership theory down to earth and reminds us that the local nature of change – irrespective of whether this is in private business or local government, is quintessentially about what it says on the tin: local. And the local nature of the place matters because it constitutes similar problems differently".
Leadership in Progress
The 5th international PUPOL conference focuses on "Leadership in Progress: New Avenues in Studying and Developing Public and Political Leadership". Ben Kuipers and his team from the Leiden Leadership Centre in The Hague have organised an exciting programme.
The conference gives us an opportunity to share new research and new ways of doing research. In this way, we can contribute to help our public and political leaders to move forward and deal effectively with the multitude of consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our work can have a positive impact on our communities to become more resilient in the future.
Kia kaha, Karin
Professor Karin Lasthuizen
Brian Picot Chair in Ethical Leadership