I4P Public Lecture – Professor Joyce Liddle

22nd Mar 2016, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Business School

Joyce Liddle[2]

“Researching Public Leadership and Innovation: Examining theoretical assumptions and methodological challenges” – Professor Joyce Liddle, Aix Marseille University

Harvey (1989), exploring the transition from Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism argued that urban governments must be innovative/entrepreneurial if they are to alleviate distressed conditions and secure better futures for local inhabitants. A lack of autonomy and inability to take up opportunities, pitted cities against each other in competition, whereas more innovative results could be achieved by inter-urban collaboration and greater alliance building within, and beyond, the urban.

Taking Harvey’s work as starting point, Professor Liddle will suggest that the entire basis and theoretical assumptions on how city leaders become more innovation and entrepreneurial are flawed, on two important counts (i) the basic assumption that concepts such as leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation can be borrowed from private/commercial sector literature and adapted to state/public sector (or state/non-state partnership) contexts is not a robust one, and (ii) despite a very different milieu of state/non-state actors/agencies in new ‘spaces’ of urban activity, we are still theorising the state/public sector in fairly outdated (or are they?) Weberian, bureaucratic, top down terms.

Recent literature has failed to acknowledge new realities of supply chain processes and engagement of varied stakeholders in agreeing what constitutes ‘adding public value’ within urban settings. For Southern (2011) enterprise/innovation cannot be defined by elites and policy makers from a higher authority but novelty must be owned by those expected to implement and experience the changes. Likewise Mauksch and Rowe (forthcoming, 2016) suggest that enterprise/innovation in community settings are seen as a panacea in the face of austerity and budget cuts. Existing concepts of ‘social enterprise’ singularly ignore the ‘social’ at the expense of the ‘enterprise’.

In this presentation the theoretical and methodological literature on leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation will be examined, in particular to question the utility of adaptation of private/commercial models in a rapidly changing milieu. Existing literature only partially explains the new realities of urban (and regional) leadership and change processes. Novel logics and models lend themselves more effectively, and facilitate more and varied and different future methodological to frame approaches to leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation in spatial contexts. Existing research has used ‘taken for granted ‘assumptions to frame the topic and concepts, thereby failing to acknowledge some of the important reasons for urban failure, including the crucial central role of the state at the epicentre of an eco-innovation milieu and legitimator of entrepreneurial and innovative action.


  • 5.30pm – Registration and Refreshments
  • 6.00pm – Lecture
  • 7.00pm – Reception and Networking

Professor Joyce Liddle

Professor Liddle researches in the areas of public leadership, territorial governance, public entrepreneurship, partnerships and networks. She has published over 200 articles, 25 book chapters and seven books; all for reputable, international publishers. She is co-editor of an Annual Book series on Critical Perspectives on International Public Management (With Prof John Diamond) and in 2016 is sole editor of New Perspectives on research, policy and practice in public entrepreneurship.

She has many years of experience in practice, teaching, researching and consultancy. Previous positions have included-Executive Officer in the UK Civil Service, Company Director and Company Secretary of family businesses, Research Officer and Training Officer. She has taught, researched and provided consultancy in public management to many UK and overseas public agencies. Along with chairing international and national conferences and speaking at events in China, Finland, Brussels, France and Brazil, she has also taught overseas, including Slovakia, Greece and Amsterdam, on various programmes.

She is a regular reviewer for respectable International publishers.

This event has been organised by the Business School, and supported by the Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice.