2018 NIG Annual Work Conference

1-2 November 2018, The Hague

Innovating leadership research in the public and political domains (Panel colloquium PUPOL)

Time and again, leadership is acknowledged as a decisive factor in the operations and results of both public and political institutions. And while leadership becomes more and more challenging in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, expectations of leaders and leadership are continually raised. Having a good understanding of exactly how leaders can respond effectively to the wide array of issues they are confronted with is thus pivotal. But whether it is about how to deal with the everyday challenges of leading teams, collaborations and partnerships or about the leadership qualities needed to combat some of the most wicked societal issues of our time, such as climate change and terrorism threats, it seems science still has more questions than answers to offer. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of leadership as well as its determinants and effects in the interconnected public and political domains, a lot more work remains to be done.

At the NIG work conference, the PUPOL colloquium aims to provide public and political leadership scholars with a platform to:

  1. gain insights into the latest developments in the field by discussing each others’ work;
  2. receive constructive feedback for further improvement of their own work;
  3. get acquainted with one another and explore new theoretical and methodological avenues for (joint) research on leadership in the public and political domain.

For the panel we therefore welcome papers that focus on leadership in:

  1. The public and semipublic domain;
  2. The political domain;
  3. Across both domains.


Paper topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The characteristics and distinctive features of public and/or political leadership compared to leadership in organizations in general;
  • Global challenges and “wicked problems” for the public and political domains (safety, migration, climate change) and the role of leadership in dealing with them;
  • The relation between leaders and their followers. How does followership work and how do leader-follower interactions affect the process and outcomes of leadership?
  • Counterfactuals of leadership. Amidst the many other relevant factors, how can we ascertain that leadership is indeed the decisive factor it is thought to be, how do we know that in specific situations the actions of a leader made a difference in the outcome?
  • New leadership arenas: theoretical integration and methodological cross-fertilization to study leadership in transboundary contexts such as the EU. How can we move beyond one-on-one application of (sub)national leadership theory and methods to the study of transboundary leadership?;
  • The needs and expectations for leadership to (co-)create and to safeguard public and social values;
  • Negative leadership (e.g. destructive, abusive or toxic leadership) and how this diminishes public and social value;
  • Applications of innovative leadership concepts (e.g. interactive leadership, collective and network leadership, place leadership etc.) to empirical contexts;
  • The effects of leadership on achieving public and political objectives and outcomes;
  • The effects of public and political contexts on how leadership research develops in the fields of public administration, political science and policy science.


We invite theoretical and/or empirical papers as well as papers aimed at methodological innovations in leadership research. In true PUPOL style, we are open to papers that discuss ongoing or developing projects. However, we do request that such papers include at least a clear outline of the project, its aims and research questions as well as a separate section with specific dilemmas, questions or doubts about the project that the author(s) would like to discuss with and receive feedback on from peers in the field. Both members of the PUPOL colloquium as well as other interested NIG scholars are invited to submit an abstract.


Connection to the NIG research program

The panel theme connects to two of the four NIG research program themes.

First, leadership in all its facets remains an important theme in public management settings, both for management within organizations and in the broader context of public sector reform. Second, leadership is relevant to ‘multi-actor governance settings in complexity’, assuming that complex multi-actor networks need to be steered beyond day-to-day management, both in procedural terms and in terms of their substantive objectives.


Submission deadline

If you want to present a paper, please submit your abstract to NIG by 01.09.2018 via the form on the NIG website.

The abstract should mention: your name, affiliation, address information and the panel in which you would like to present your paper.


Panel chairs:

Dr. Sabina Stiller (University of Amsterdam), Dr. Leonie Heres, Sabine van Zuydam MSc (Tilburg University) and Marij Swinkels MA (Utrecht University School of Governance)


Questions about this panel can be directed to Leonie Heres (l.heres@uu.nl).


More information at https://www.utwente.nl/nig/research/annualworkconference/

Academic Network Public and Political Leadership