Translating Policy to Place Leadership: Lessons from the Austrian Province of Styria

Stewart MacNeill, M Steiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The discourses of the ‘new economic geography’, the ‘knowledge-based economy’ and ‘innovation’ stress the importance of networking amongst a wide variety of agents for the circulation of knowledge, the reduction of costs and the efficiency of exploitation. Of the various ‘networked’ territorial innovation models ‘clusters’ has been the most commonly adopted by policy-makers.

However, cluster policy implementation requires careful management if the different actors are to be properly engaged and committed. In this article, we will argue that a great deal rests upon the quality of leadership both at the strategic level of regions, or other administrative scales, and of individual projects or initiatives such as cluster support organisations. The main issues and challenges of leadership will be outlined.

Furthermore, we examine cluster policy in the Austrian region of Styria where its successful application has assisted the transformation of the region from a crisis point in the 1980s. We consider what has been achieved and how the adoption of a particular ‘distributed’ style of leadership has been effective in creating a strong institutional base, achieving cooperation across organisational, sectoral and other boundaries and building lasting partnerships based upon mutual self-interest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-456
Number of pages16
JournalPolicy Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jun 2010


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