Aarhus BSS

Knocking down the ivory tower: New platform for communication with the world of practice

A new platform for research-based knowledge is to strengthen the dialogue on public leadership and offer public-sector managers perspectives not limited by the approach of a single research environment. The platform called Ledelsesavisen will write at eye level with the world of practice and is published in collaboration between the Crown Prince Frederik Center for Public Leadership at Aarhus BSS together with UCPH, RUC and VIA.

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Photo: Unsplash

Ledelsesavisen (‘The Leadership Newspaper’) is a new digital platform for research-based as well as experience-based knowledge on public management and leadership  – or perhaps an old one in a new look.

Previously, the newspaper was published externally. Now, new aspirations mean it has been relocated to a domain at Aarhus BSS. It is published in collaboration between the Crown Prince Frederik Center for Public Leadership and research units at the University of Copenhagen, Roskilde University and VIA University College.

Ledelsesavisen aims to strengthen the public sector by offering practitioners – primarily public sector managers and decision-makers, but also managers in private companies – perspectives on management and leadership both well-established and versatile in nature. Lotte Bøgh Andersen, who is the director of the Crown Prince Frederik Center for Public Leadership and thus responsible for a great deal of the research published in Ledelsesavisen by Aarhus BSS, explains:

"The target group is people who manage and make decisions in the public sector in practice. They often need extensive knowledge of their field. For this reason, we have high expectations for our collaboration with UCPH, RUC and VIA, who have each their interesting research environment and perspective on this field of study.”

Academic breadth and debate to prevent ivory towers

The digital newspaper will provide a joint research dissemination platform to a long-standing collaboration between management researchers at AU, UCPH, RUC and VIA.

The different research units will be the official sender of their own separate content and thereby contribute with distinct approaches which could complement each other. Or spark debates.

According to Lotte Bøgh Andersen, it is a question of providing such a variation in methods and content as the public sector needs:

"We believe that this collaboration can help knock down the ivory towers and offer more relevant insights to the target group. We aim to communicate versatile, but well-founded knowledge not limited by the approach of a single research environment."

This also means that contributions to the newspaper are not reserved for the partners who run it. If you meet common requirements for integrity and relevance, everyone can communicate knowledge on Ledelsesavisen, including other research environments at Aarhus BSS – and practitioners themselves.

At eye level with the world of practice

The newspaper actively works on ways to speak to the world of practice and present research in a way that impacts the challenges experienced by practitioners. Or simply let the public sector speak for itself, for instance in the form of articles for debate or articles authored by public sector managers.

The desire to improve communication has been a driving force in implementing the new concept behind Ledelsesavisen, which is handled by two journalists and an editor-in-chief.

In addition, Anders Valentin Bager coordinates the research dissemination from the management centre at Aarhus BSS. According to him, an important guideline in this work is to translate insights to fit a busy user context:

"If we are to reach public-sector managers with this knowledge, it has to be ready for use. This entails that we extract the essence of a complex research article. We also have to speak in a common, professional vocabulary without any esoteric research terms as well as understand the actual challenges managers in the world of practice face – and thereby the solutions research can offer,” says Anders Valentin Bager.

In the long run, the platform aspires to be a meeting point where systematic knowledge produced by researchers and experiences directly from public sector management can mix and benefit each other. The hope is to generate new ideas that are in the interest of practitioners as well as the different groups of researchers – and the citizens of society as a whole.

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The partners behind Ledelsesavisen

  • Crown Prince Frederik Center for Public Leadership, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
  • Forum for Fremtidens Offentlige Ledelse og Styring, the University of Copenhagen
  • Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University
  • Ledelse og Vækst, VIA University College