Leadership Center

Advancing Relational Leadership Research and Practice: RCLA Event

Advancing Relational Leadership Research and Practice: RCLA Event

NYU Wagner’s Research Center for Leadership in Action will host a book celebration and discussion on "Advancing Relational Leadership Research and Practice" on Monday, February 25, from 12:00 – 1:30 pm.

The event will be a conversation with Mary Uhl-Bien, PhD, Howard Hawks Chair in Business Ethics and Leadership Management, University of Nebraska, and Sonia M. Ospina, PhD, Faculty Director of the Research Center for Leadership in Action, NYU Wagner.

The complex webs of relationships and interconnectivity in today’s work environment open up new worlds of possibility for organizational performance and leadership. At the same time, making decisions and taking action are more challenging and outcomes are less predictable.

For organizations to capitalize on these relationships and networks to achieve their missions requires challenging outdated leadership models that focus solely on individual leaders and assume top-down, linear causality, often ignoring context. Advancing theories of leadership that are more relevant to practice requires understanding how people connect and the implications of relational dynamics for leadership research and development. This, in turn, requires a dialogue among scholars and practitioners about the very meaning of relational leadership.

The new book, Advancing Relational Leadership Research: A Conversation across Perspectives, edited by Mary Uhl-Bien and Sonia M. Ospina, documents the beginning of such a conversation among renowned leadership scholars. Incorporating a wide range of disciplines and perspectives (e.g., organizational behavior, communications, sociology, public policy, critical theory, feminist theory, relational theory), the authors address the theoretical, research and practical questions of attempting to develop a relational view of leadership.

At the book celebration, the editors will discuss what they have learned from working with the scholars and participants can continue a lively conversation about the questions, obstacles and the key next steps to advance work on relational leadership. The ultimate goal is to integrate multiple perspectives in developing actionable knowledge on relational leadership that can help address the challenges in today’s work environment.

The event will be held in the Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue at NYU Wagner.

RSVPs are required. RSVP now.



American Evaluation Association Conference to Share Findings from IIE-LDM Evaluation

American Evaluation Association Conference to Share Findings from IIE-LDM Evaluation

RCLA Deputy Director Amparo Hofmann-Pinilla and consultant Judith Kallick Russell, who jointly directed a participatory evaluation of the Institute of International Education West Coast Center's Leadership Development for Mobilizing Reproductive Health (LDM) program, will be presenting with LDM Senior Program Officer Julia Hendrickson at the American Evaluation Association's 2011 conference. The year-long RCLA evaluation assessed the LDM program's work to build and sustain a core of emerging and established leaders to improve the delivery of reproductive health and family planning services in five key countries.

The presentation, "Participatory Methodologies: Innovations and Effectiveness in Impact Evaluation," will take place on November 5 in Anaheim, California. The session will share the innovative methodologies behind Participatory Action Research evaluations and will explore how Action Research can contribute to evaluation methodologies in particular fields. The LDM evaluation's unique methodology will provide a starting point for a discussion where participants will grapple with the pros and cons of using various participatory methodologies in program evaluation, with a particular focus on how to best measure influence or impact of a program.

The Executive Summary of the evaluation's Final Report is now available online: "Evaluation of the Institute of International Education West Coast Center's Leadership Development for Mobilizing Reproductive Health Program from 2006-2011."

Learn more at eval.org.

Applications Being Accepted for Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service

Applications Being Accepted for Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service

NYU Wagner’s Research Center for Leadership in Action is now accepting applications for the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service.

The fellowship is a prestigious leadership program for a diverse group of early-career professionals working full-time for elected officials, government agencies, nonprofits and philanthropic organizations in New York City. Through sessions twice each month from November 2013 through May 2014, Fellows will enhance their leadership knowledge and skills, deepen their understanding of the public service landscape, hear from top leaders in the field, receive ongoing mentorship from Alumni and Career Guides, engage in strategic career planning, and build a cross-sector network of people committed to public service.

To be eligible, applicants must work full-time in public service in the New York City area; may not currently be engaged in another significant fellowship; and must commit to attending all fellowship sessions, including a day-long Orientation on November 2, 2013. The program fee is $500.

The application deadline is noon (EST) on Thursday, September 5, 2013.

More information and the application are available at: http://wagner.nyu.edu/felps

Assoc. Prof. Robertson Work Appointed to Fulbright Specialist Program Global Roster

Assoc. Prof. Robertson Work Appointed to Fulbright Specialist Program Global Roster

Prof. Robertson Work facilitates global workshop on climate change in Brazil, 2009.

NYU Wagner Associate Professor Robertson Work was recently appointed to the global roster of the Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State. Through FSP institutions of higher learning overseas can request Prof. Work's services with support of Fulbright. To date Prof. Work has received a request from a university in Nepal to design a leadership and management curriculum and from a poverty research center in Pakistan to help create a strategic organizational plan and rollout. Prof. Work teaches Innovative Leadership for Human Development at Wagner.

At RCLA, Bertelsmann Foundation Previews Study on Web Developments and Leadership

At RCLA, Bertelsmann Foundation Previews Study on Web Developments and Leadership

An upcoming report from the Bertelsmann Foundation in Germany offers an analysis of Web trends in the context of an increasingly networked society and more collaborative approaches to leadership. The study identifies the implications of these combined trends for organizations - and for organizing - to enable leaders in all sectors to anticipate and adjust to new realities and leverage emerging possibilities for heightened effectiveness.

The study, written by Grady McGonagill, EdD, with Tina Doerffer will be available on the Bertelsmann Foundation's Web site in mid-November. Ms. Doerffer presented an overview of findings at an informal discussion at the Research Center for Leadership in Action on November 2 as part of the lead-up to the study's release.

In a synthesis of publicly available information and existing research, the study examines the impact of the Web on leadership and organizations in the business, social, and government sectors, and explores the implications for leadership. The purpose of the study is to provide examples of pioneers in order to encourage and enable leaders in all sectors to anticipate and adjust to new realities and leverage emerging possibilities for heightened effectiveness.

The soon-to-be-released study identifies the following key impacts:

  • New Leadership Paradigm: Numerous forces combine to give momentum to a shift away from one-way, hierarchical, organization-centric communication toward two-way, network-centric, participatory, and collaborative leadership styles.
  • Constraints: The Web increasingly requires organizations to adapt to new conditions (such as great ease of connecting and dramatically lower costs of collaboration) as well as to a co-evolving cultural shift (to a culture of openness, transparency, and collaboration), reinforced by the arrival of Millennials in the workplace.
  • Opportunities: The Web offers new possibilities for impact to traditional organizations (such as two-way communication with stakeholders and creating ecosystems that enable support and collaboration) as well as possibilities for getting things done that do not depend on organizations (free agent activity, and mobilization of networks). The Web is also fostering emergence of a new global commons.
  • Costs and Concerns: The Web is leading to the destruction or downsizing of many organizations, causing upheaval and job loss. It also raises concerns about the security, quality and overwhelming quantity of information; about loss of hierarchical control and preservation of institutional boundaries; and about decline of individual ability to concentrate and maintain privacy.

These new realities are putting additional pressure on leaders in all sectors to move away from approaches that rely on maintaining unilateral control over decisions, information, and participation; and are instead encouraging approaches that embrace the open, interactive and inclusive culture of the Web.

For those organizations and individuals that are able to rise to the occasion, the rewards are tangible. The report cites numerous examples in each sector of that demonstrate the power of Web tools to increase organizational cost-effectiveness. And it documents signs that the Web is fostering the emergence of a fourth sector in the form of a virtual global commons.

Whether the cumulative impact of these changes is positive or negative is hotly disputed. The authors of the report side with the optimists. They are more impressed by the potential of the Web to contribute than they are fearful of the concerns, even though they take seriously the many cautions that have been noted.  Beyond dispute is the reality that the Web is coming.

For further information contact: grady@mcgonagillconsulting.com (author) and tina.doerffer@bertelsmann-stiftung.de (co-author)

Barack Obama at NYU Wagner

Barack Obama at NYU Wagner

Senator Barack Obama at NYU Wagner
Barack Obama visited the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University on July 25, 2007 to discuss his ideas about reducing poverty, extending health care coverage widely, and reaching disconnected youth. The event was the Working Cities Forum, a leadership forum on the working poor sponsored by the nonprofit Community Service Society of New York (CSS) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The invitation-only dialogue with a major presidential candidate was the second in three months at NYU Wagner: on April 23, Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed urban issues in the same setting. On behalf of NYU President John Sexton and Wagner Dean Ellen Schall, Obama was introduced by Lynne Brown, NYU's Senior Vice President for University Relations and Public Affairs. A video of the event will be posted in the future at www.cssny.org, where Clinton's appearance can currently be viewed.

Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellows to Present at RCLA February 28

Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellows to Present at RCLA February 28

At an RCLA event on February 28, from 5:00–6:30pm, the Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellows will talk about about a breakthrough new approach to innovation in local government funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The Fellows will share insights about the work of Innovation Delivery Teams in Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans to advance top Mayoral priorities, including reducing street homelessness, handgun violence and homicides; improving customer service and processing times for key city services; scaling energy efficiency efforts and revitalizing neighborhoods and encouraging business growth.

The event, co-sponsored with the NYU Wagner Office of Career Services, will be held in Lafayette Conference Room on the 3rd Floor of NYU Wagner. RSVPs are required.

Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellowship Launches with Orientation in NYC

Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellowship Launches with Orientation in NYC

Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellows meet with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Orientation.

Five early career professionals selected to participate in the prestigious new Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellowship  gathered in New York for an Orientation on February 2-3, 2012. The fellowship is part of a three-year Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded initiative to support Innovation Delivery Teams in five cities - Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans - to help mayors develop and deliver high-impact solutions to major urban challenges.

The program, managed by NYU Wagner's Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA), offers fellows an opportunity to learn from senior leaders in municipal government and engage in hands-on research and documentation supported by first-tier academic expertise.

The orientation included a comprehensive look at the cutting-edge work fellows will engage in as well as the Innovation Delivery Team model and its ability to spearhead large-scale change initiatives. While in town the fellows met with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other senior administration officials who have expertise in innovation and delivery, the design firm IDEO, and Dean Ellen Schall for a discussion on leadership and reflective practice in government.

Importantly, a team from NYU Wagner, including Neil Kleiman, PhD, special advisor to the Dean; Shankar Prasad, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of public administration at NYU Wagner; and Daniel Smith, PhD, assistant professor of Public Budgeting and Financial Management, provided an overview and training on the research agenda and data collection for the project, including a look at best practices in grounded research.

Bohnett Fellows huddle with 200-plus mayors in DC

Bohnett Fellows huddle with 200-plus mayors in DC

Bohnett Fellows pose in front of the White House during their trip to the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting, 2011.

Bohnett Fellows from NYU Wagner joined with their counterparts from UCLA and the University of Michigan in attending the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. on January 19-21, 2011, with Professor Rogan Kersh. After sharing information, insights, and ideas with more than 200 of the nation's mayors and many other public service leaders, the Wagner students offered these reports:

Barbara Kiviat:
"It was by far one of the best networking opportunities of my life. Most of the Conference participants were mayors, and between sessions there was ample time for me to walk up to people and introduce myself. I was amazed at how engaged many of the mayors were. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter must have talked to us for half an hour one evening: He was really interested in what we had to say and fielded all of our questions, including some pretty tough ones, with aplomb.

"I was incredibly impressed with the mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan. The conference included many speakers from the national stage, including Nancy Pelosi, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Trade Representative Ron Kirk, House Transportation Committee Chair John Mica, and Alaska Senator Mark Begich. These folks usually spoke for awhile and then took questions from the mayors. Almost without fail, Mayor Quan's hand would slowly rise, she'd be called on, and then, with perfect posture and composure, she asked the most pointed and well-informed question imaginable. It made me happy for the people of Oakland. They've got a real policy wonk running the place.

"More broadly, it was great to be around Republican and Democratic politicians talking about actual issues - from handgun violence to job creation - without reverting to demagoguery  It was the sort of situation that might restore a person's faith in the American political system."

Sean Capperis:
"When elected officials are talking about economic development, I expect to hear more about financial incentives than about public services. But the economic-development drivers the mayors were discussing included developing exports, attracting foreign investment, and producing a highly skilled labor force through education and workforce training. Mayors and federal officials echoed that cities must cooperate across other governments and sectors to succeed in these areas. It's not surprising that President Obama articulated some of the Conference's major themes in his State of the Union address of Jan. 25, 2011. Getting to speak personally to some of the mayors completely changed my perspective on urban government, and my work this semester is going to reflect it.

"The Conference was also the first time the Bohnett Fellows at all three schools were able to come together. I really connected with a Fellow from the University of Michigan over our work in Northern industrial cities. She lives and works in Detroit, and I came to NYU from Pittsburgh. I found that we could swap war stories about managing decline, but at the end of the day we were talking about common points of growth and battling inequality."

Elizabeth H. Guernsey:
"The trip to the Conference of Mayors winter meeting was definitely one of the highlights - if not the highlight - of my Wagner career so far. The access to and conversations with so many mayors was great. I came back from the Conference inspired to know that so many smart people are working in local government and really focused on making our cities great places to work and live. I was also struck by the mayors' signing of the Civility Accord in reaction to the Tucson tragedy. It was refreshing to hear the mayors talking about their cities in a nonpartisan way.

"A highlight of the trip was meeting with the Fellows from the other schools and hearing about the work they are doing in other cities. Another highlight was attending the Mayors Against Illegal Guns meeting, and hearing mayors talk openly about what they think needs to be done to protect public safety in our cities. The mayors were able to talk honestly and openly without worry that they might upset their constituencies."

The David Bohnett Public Service Fellowship for incoming Wagner students offers "...a great opportunity for students to directly engage in the challenges of governing our vibrant and diverse city," according to David Bohnett, Chairman and Founder of the David Bohnett Foundation. The Fellowship provides full tuition support and summer stipends for three Bohnett Fellows per year. These students must be enrolled in either the Master of Public Administration (MPA) or Master of Urban Planning (MUP) program and express an explicit interest in working for municipal governments to solve our most urgent social issues. The David Bohnett Public Service Fellowship also allows two fellows a terrific opportunity to intern at the highest level of NYC government. The third fellow gets to take on exciting work with the current President of the US Conference of Mayors, which has an ongoing partnership with Wagner.


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