This paper explores two related questions: 1) Does the institutional design of the governance arrangements of a city make a difference to the performance of place-based leadership? And 2) Does the leadership style of the individual exercising mayoral leadership in a given city make a difference to the way the city is governed? The paper, which is based on a five-year longitudinal study of place-based leadership in Bristol (known as the Bristol Civic Leadership Project), draws on surveys of citizens and civic leaders, on interviews and on participant observation. An introduction outlines the two central questions addressed by the paper. The next section explains the mayoral model of place-based leadership. It outlines the pros and cons of this model of urban governance and then describes how, in a referendum held in May 2012, the citizens of Bristol decided to introduce a directly elected mayor model of governance into their city. This is followed by a section providing data on citizen and civic leader ‘before’ and ‘after’ perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the directly elected mayor model. The results are striking and reveal important differences between different socio-economic groups in the city and between realms of leadership within the city. The following section turns to consider styles of mayoral leadership. The first two directly elected mayors in the history of Bristol - Mayor George Ferguson (2012-2016) and Mayor Marvin Rees (elected in May 2016) – have very different styles of leadership and these are compared. A final section discusses important themes relating to place-based leadership that flow from the analysis.
Hambleton, R., & sweeting, D. (2018, April). Place-based leadership and radical public innovation: Lessons from mayoral governance experimentation in Bristol, UK. Paper presented at International Research Society for Public Management