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Public leadership development facilitation and the crossroads blues

Smolović Jones, Owain; Grint, Keith; Cammock, Peter


Keith Grint

Peter Cammock


The article seeks to make sense of the choices facing the public leadership development facilitator, in design and in-the-moment programme decisions. The challenge is posited as one of situating knowledge of facilitation practices in a critical relationship with the public sector leadership literature and the critical leadership development literature. The article positions public leadership development facilitation as sitting within three pressing dilemmas, or crossroads, concerning public leadership theory, critical leadership development scholarship and facilitation scholarship. A narrative ethnographic methodology is adopted to explore the constructions of a specific public sector leadership development facilitator as a means of analysing facilitator choices in action. An interpretation of how the facilitator frames and constructs public leadership in relation to the constructions of participants is offered. The article situates facilitator choices as highly political, sitting contextually between the idealism of the public sector literature and the social identifications of participants. The authors offer two dominant forms of facilitation choices (framing and adaptive) as a heuristic for facilitators, practitioners and scholars who wish to reflect further on the role of leadership development in the public realm.


Smolović Jones, O., Grint, K., & Cammock, P. (2015). Public leadership development facilitation and the crossroads blues. Management Learning, 46(4), 391-411.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jun 1, 2014
Publication Date 2015-09
Deposit Date Jan 7, 2024
Journal Management Learning
Print ISSN 1350-5076
Electronic ISSN 1461-7307
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 4
Pages 391-411
Keywords Management of Technology and Innovation; Strategy and Management; General Decision Sciences
Public URL