Symposium on Leadership and Entrepreneurial Behavior in Turbulent Times

Published date01 January 2015
Date01 January 2015
Call for Papers
Symposium on Leadership and Entrepreneurial Behavior in Turbulent Times 179
Public Administration Review,
Vol. 75, Iss. 1, pp. 179–180. © 2014 by
The American Society for Public Administration.
DOI: 10.1111/puar.12339.
Given this new state of af‌f airs, to what extent are formal
leaders and/or institutional entrepreneurs across the
public sector—schools, universities, hospitals, local
government, ministries, security agencies, and so
on—forging ahead with signif‌i cant innovative solu-
tions to pending problems that, on the whole, are
capable of changing the internal fabric of the organi-
zations (cf.  ompson 2008) and the organizational
f‌i elds (DiMaggio and Powell 1983) they inhabit? More
important, what lessons can be learned—regarding the
future of public leadership, on the one hand, and of
institutional entrepreneurship, on the other—from criti-
cally assessing ongoing developments across the public
sector, in Europe and beyond, at a time of acute f‌i nan-
cial stringency, serious legitimacy crisis, and the gradual
erosion of public trust in the capacity of government to
deal with a rapidly changing society and economy?
We appeal to our colleagues in f‌i elds within the social
sciences—political scientists, organizational sociolo-
gists, public policy and administration researchers,
and others—with an interest in exploring, both criti-
cally and comparatively, the changing nature of public
sector governance, leadership, and entrepreneurial
behavior from a global perspective. We are particularly
interested in research that sheds light on the ways in
which agents—individuals or groups—move beyond
the structural constraints posed by their institutional
environments as a means of “reinventing the rules of
the game” in which public sector governance takes
place. More specif‌i cally, we are especially keen to
explore—albeit not exclusively—the following topics:
e ways in which leaders, both formal and
informal, within public organizations balance the
need for adaptation to emerging circumstances
(i.e., innovation) with maintaining a sense of
stability in structures, work procedures, norms,
and identities
e complex interplay between top-down orien-
tations toward change and innovation and more
bottom-up initiatives based on informal ties and
network arrangements
e extent to which internal (organizational)
and external (environment) structural constraints
(rules and regulations, professional norms, incen-
tive systems) enable or constrain strategic initia-
tives by change agents or so-called institutional
e importance attributed to critical dimensions
such as accountability, ef‌f‌i ciency, equity, and/or
trust during processes of internal adaptation and
Guest Editors
Rómulo Pinheiro, University of Agder, Norway
Hugo Horta, University of Hong Kong, China
David Charles, University of Strathclyde, United
The current socioeconomic period is charac-
terized by a series of “nested crises.”  ere
is a crisis of market conf‌i dence, ref‌l ected in a
reluctance in the public and private sectors to embark
on bold f‌i nancial investments in the face of future
volatility and uncertainty (Fidler 2010).  ere is a
crisis of democracy, substantiated by low turnout for
local and national elections in recent times (Porcaro
2013).  ere is a crisis of accountability, with citizens
raising critical questions regarding the interplay
of personal privacy and collective security (Lomas
2013).  ere is a crisis of government and governance,
ref‌l ected in the inability of state-run institutions
to adequately respond to the new set of social and
economic demands that characterize the knowledge
economy, in both its f‌i rst (Benner 2003) and second
(Rutten and Boekema 2012) versions. Concurrently,
many argue, there is also a serious crisis of leadership,
particularly across the public sector, with potentially
debilitating social and economic ef‌f ects across the
board, from welfare to education to security to the
environment (cf. Boin and Hart 2003; Boin et al.
2005). Government agencies are being pressured “to
do more with less” and to change the ways in which
structural arrangements, rules, standard operat-
ing procedures, and relations with key stakeholders
have traditionally been conceived (Christensen and
Lægreid 2011).
Recent studies following the (neo)institutional
tradition within the social sciences, particularly
within organizational sociology, political science,
and economics (Greenwood et al. 2008; Peters 2005;
Williamson 1985), have shed light on the critical
importance of institutional entrepreneurs in infusing
new ways of organizing work within organizations,
ef‌f ectively changing behaviors at both the meso and
micro levels and, on some occasions, changing the
“rules of the game” (macro) as well (Battilana, Leca,
and Boxenbaum 2009; Beckert 1999; Bercovitz
and Feldman 2008; Powell and Colyvas 2008).
is is easier said than done, however, with numer-
ous accounts suggesting the considerable resilience
(inertia) of organizations, particularly those operating
within highly institutionalized environments (Benner
and Sandström 2000; Zucker 1991), as is the case in
the public sector (Christensen and Lægreid 2011).
Symposium on Leadership and Entrepreneurial Behavior
in Turbulent Times

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