Public Leadership


As the world grapples with challenges that are unprecedented, urgent and complex, from pandemics to climate change and political polarisation, we hear repeated demands for public leadership. But what is public leadership and what does it mean to lead in the current environment?

This module focuses on public leadership, which means both leadership that takes place within a public sector environment, and more widely leadership for the public interest.

We present a range of different approaches to leadership in general, and public leadership specifically, to help to understand and interrogate our own assumptions on the purpose, practice and value of public leadership, and its role in meeting public management challenges.

You will receive high-quality learning provision both face-to-face and through online resources and engagement. The module will include interactive lectures, as well as tutorials focused on exchange and conversation with your tutors and peers. We will also draw on a wide-range of learning materials, from discussion boards to real-life scenarios, international case studies, guest lecturers from world-leading experts and multi-media content. Assessment for this module will involve in-depth and critical engagement with a case study of a public leadership response to a significant public management challenge.

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Understand the purpose of public leadership and what distinguishes it from broader approaches to leadership.
  • Interrogate assumptions and archetypes of public leadership.
  • Evaluate a range of public leadership theories and concepts.
  • Critically reflect on the relevance of different theories and concepts of public leadership to addressing contemporary public management challenges.