Relational knowledge leadership and local economic development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
191 Downloads (Pure)


This paper concerns the role of spatial leadership in the development of the knowledge-based economy. It is argued within academic and practitioner circles that leadership of knowledge networks requires a particular non-hierarchical style that is required to establish an ambience conducive to networking and knowledge sharing across boundaries. In this paper, we explore this hypothesis at both theoretical and empirical levels. Theoretically, we propose a conceptualization of relational knowledge leadership, which is ‘nomadic’ in its capacity to travel across multiple scales and cross sectoral, thematic and geographical boundaries. We have operationalized this type of relational knowledge leadership along four key features, derived from literatures on regional learning, organizational leadership and place leadership. Two empirical case studies are then presented, one from Birmingham in the UK and one from Eindhoven in the Netherlands, exploring how these features are expressed on the sub-national level. Also conclusions are drawn regarding the status of relational knowledge leadership. It is argued that the concept of relational knowledge leadership as viewed through our analytical lens does accord with the experience of leadership in the two cases presented. The cases also show that this style of leadership is confronted with three types of tensions that play through knowledge networking. Furthermore, it is argued that the cases exhibit this style of leadership to different degrees, reflecting their different cultural and political contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-109
Number of pages2
JournalLocal Economy
Issue number2
Early online date14 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Leadership
  • Knowledge-based Economy
  • Policy
  • Urban Development
  • Regional Development


Dive into the research topics of 'Relational knowledge leadership and local economic development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this