Who is in the lead? New perspectives on leading service co-production

Hans Schlappa, Yassaman Imani

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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Leadership permeates the co-creation process - from senior policy and management levels throughout the public service value chain where professional providers, service users and external stakeholders share leadership functions to facilitate the co-production of a service. Little work has directly addressed leading in co-production situations. But relevant work exists on distributed and relational leadership and user participation. Drawing on this from a critical relational perspective we explore leadership in co-production situations, focusing on the challenges that arise in shaping and navigating organisational contexts, and the implications for the way public service institutions ‘organise’ themselves .

The case study of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service illustrates that long-term budgetary austerity can be a key driver for strategic decisions to co-produce preventative services. We explore the tensions arising from the introduction of co- productive processes into a control and command culture and highlight the evolution of different approaches to leading the co-creation and co-production of services. The chapter concludes suggesting that concepts of relational and distributed leadership are central to the exploration of how the organizational context affects and is affected by the co-production process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCo-production and co-creation
Subtitle of host publicationEngaging citizens in service delivery
EditorsTaco Brandsen, Bram Verschuere, Trui Steen
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTaylor & Francis Group
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781315204956
ISBN (Print)9780367735012, 9781138700116
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020


  • Public Services
  • leadership theory and development


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