Public network leadership and the ties that lead

Cristofoli, Daniela; Trivellato, Benedetta; Sancino, Alessandro; Maccio’, Laura and Markovic, Josip (2021). Public network leadership and the ties that lead. Journal of Management and Governance, 25 pp. 251–274.



This study explores how certain characteristics of the network structure, such as autonomization and connectivity, differently combine with individual leadership in order to produce high network performance. Data gathered through a survey of 265 networks for homecare assistance shed light on three different paths simultaneously leading to network success. First, the presence of autonomy from government (autonomization) appears to be able to ensure network success, irrespective of the other conditions. Secondly, the presence (or absence) of an individual network leader combines differently with the network’s connectivity. Sparsely connected networks seem to require a network leader, forging agreements and leading partners towards a common objective. On the contrary, in highly connected networks, it is the intensity of network ties that appears to lead the network (the network leader seems to be not important). These networks seem to be leaderless, but not necessarily leadershipless.

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