Call for Abstracts: IRSPM Conference 2021

The PUPOL will organize a panel at the International Research Society for Public Management Conference. The first virtual IRSPM Conference will be held on April 20 – 23, 2021. The call for paper abstracts is open until February 12, 2021. (Details of abstract submission)

Societies face increasingly complex and wicked challenges occurring simultaneously, across a diverse range of issues such as global health threats to our lifestyle, freedom, and the economy; technological advances that impact on privacy; threats to democracy; climate emergency; income and racial inequalities; migration, and more.

To address such societal challenges, on one side citizens look to public leaders to exercise leadership on behalf of them; on the other side, citizens step up to take a public leadership role, for example, Greta Thunberg for climate change. Examining the impact of leadership on society and communities expands the understanding of whether and how public leadership can make a difference.

This panel proposal calls for papers to investigate the role, processes, and impact of public leadership in responding to contemporary complex and wicked societal challenges at any level, from the micro to the macro. Public leadership is intended broadly, as leadership in the public sphere (Hartley 2018) dealing with collective problems and/or collective opportunities across sectors. We welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions, with a range of well-articulated methodologies.

Abstracts should be of max. 500 words including references. More detailed authors’ guidelines will be available on and the ExOrdo system for reference. The panel is organized in cooperation with the PUPOL (Public and Political Leadership) network and will feature traditional paper presentation sessions, and open sessions to discuss public leadership in a post-Covid-19 world and needed future directions of public leadership research. This will enable the panel to bring together a range of diverse views and traditions on public leadership.

Some of the topics that are particularly welcome are the following, but we are open to any relevant work which studies political, managerial and community leadership for the public sphere:

  • The relationship between public leadership, collaborative governance, and strategic management;
  • Public leadership responses to Covid-19, including comparative analysis across and within nations
  • Political leaders under stress: challenges of populism and technocracy for democratic leadership in extraordinary times;
  • Place-based and collaborative approaches to public leadership;
  • The role of leadership in enhancing the salience of purpose in public organizations and partnerships;
  • Ethical leadership and the role of compassion in political and public leadership responses to crises;
  • Differences and/or similarities of forms of political, managerial and community leadership;
  • The role of public leadership in addressing causes and consequences of inequality and social exclusion;
  • Public leadership from the ground up: resistance and agency of historically marginalized and subaltern groups;
  • The role of public and political interactive leadership in engaging members of the society in interactive policy and public management;
  • Positive and negative followership and the role of social networks and media and their impacts on leadership.