International Academic Network Public and Political Leadership (PUPOL)

The Public and Political Leadership (PUPOL) network was founded in 2012, initially in the Netherlands and from 2015 as an international network. Since its inception PUPOL has grown into a vibrant network of over 75 scholars interested in and working on leadership in Public Administration, Public Management, Organization Studies and Political Science.


PUPOL was founded by Karin Lasthuizen and Sabina Stiller and was supported by the Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG) as a research colloquium. In time they were joined by Sandra Resodihardjo and Leonie Heres, and together this pioneering group developed PUPOL into an international network – with a Board of Directors and a Board of Executives.


Although societies have always faced challenging problems related to, for instance, safety, poverty, and health care, currently these issues transcend national borders as the world becomes increasingly complex and intertwined. Besides these traditional challenges, global problems are emerging including terrorism and migration. To address such wicked problems, citizens look at political and public leaders and urge for – their – leadership.

The aim of the PUPOL international academic network is to contribute to solutions, and help societies and their leaders address such challenges through scholarship specifically focusing on the role of leaders and leadership in the public and political domain.

To achieve this aim, PUPOL will facilitate communication and the exchange of ideas across all borders – between countries, universities, and disciplines – and inspire collaborative research and publications. PUPOL hopes to foster research that will have a tangible, real life impact on how practitioners work and on the public understanding of how public and political leadership is exercised at all government and organizational levels. PUPOL therefore organizes international conferences and conference panels, for both academics and practitioners, and operates a website, newsletter and mailing list.


We envision PUPOL as an academic network where researchers investigating public and political leadership come together. Easy access, connectedness to the network, and impact of our research are thus key in this regard:

  • Easy access to other academics and their knowledge – mainly through the mailing list, newsletters and the website – as well as an easy-going conference atmosphere will help academics to reach out to other researchers and form collaborations.
  • Connectedness is not only about these collaborations, but also about feeling connected to the network as a whole: seeing meetings and conferences as the place to be, to connect to other leadership researchers and feeling a sense of community.
  • Impact of the research not only includes sharing research with other scholars but also to other audiences, especially practitioners, policy makers, leaders and managers, and media.
img_5128    Photo: First international PUPOL conference in April 2016, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

In the coming years, the PUPOL network is looking to increase its activities even further, for instance by working towards special issues around specific PUPOL themes and expanding the network to include a wider range of international scholars – but growing naturally and bottom up, with feeling a sense of community.

Want to stay updated on upcoming conferences, interesting research projects, papers, and vacancies related to public and political leadership? Or do you have interesting news to share with or questions to pose to other members of the PUPOL network? 

If so, you can subscribe to the PUPOL mailing list at: www.jiscmail.ac.uk/PUPOL or email: listserv@jiscmail.ac.uk.