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Dr Owain Smolovic Jones

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer in People Management and Organisation
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Business School
  • Department for People and Organisations
  • owain.smolovic-jones

Professional biography

I joined The Open University in November 2013, coming to work for a university I had long admired as one of the great British innovations and institutions.
Before entering academia I trained as a journalist, working at Media Wales for two years. I subsequently worked in politics, as a party press officer. It is in political life that I rediscovered my interest in study, pursuing a part-time MBA at Cardiff University. Academic research was a means of connecting my passions in life: study, the political, writing and above all else making a contribution to public life.
I was successful in 2008 in gaining a studentship to pursue a PhD on leadership development in the public sector, under the supervision of Professor Keith Grint at Cranfield, based at the UK Defence Academy.
After graduating I secured a Research Fellow position at the New Zealand Leadership Institute, University of Auckland. I spent two years in Auckland working on the practice side of leadership development, as well as pursuing teaching and research. I am committed to excellence in teaching and so pursued and obtained a PGCert in Academic Practice while at the University of Auckland.

Research interests

My research focus is largely in the area of the political and ethical in leadership and its development. I am particularly interested in how political theory can contribute to our understanding of leadership.
My current focus at The Open University is on developing open-access leadership development for voluntary sector organisations, a venture approached from a political and democratic perspective.
In addition, I hold a growing interest in public and business ethics, in particular how ethical practice may be influenced by leadership practice, and vice versa.

A list of my publications is available here:



Putting the discourse to work: On outlining a praxis of democratic leadership development (2016-09)
Smolovic-Jones, Nela; Smolovic Jones, Owain; Winchester, Nik and Grint, Keith
Management Learning, 47(4) (pp. 424-442)
Public leadership development facilitation and the crossroads blues (2015-09)
Smolovic Jones, Owain; Grint, Keith and Cammock, Peter
Management Learning, 46(4) (pp. 391-411)
Promoting better public services leadership: an appreciative critique (2012-08)
Jackson, Brad and Smolovic Jones, Owain
Policy Quarterly, 8(3) (pp. 34-40)
What is leadership: person, result, position or process, or all or none of these? (2016-10-04)
Grint, Keith; Smolovic Jones, Owain and Holt, Clare
In: Storey, John; Hartley, Jean; Denis, Jean-Louis; t'Hart, Paul and Ulrich, Dave eds. The Routledge Companion to Leadership (pp. 3-20)
ISBN : 9781138825574 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Seeing leadership: becoming sophisticated consumers of leadership (2015-05-06)
Smolovic Jones, Owain and Jackson, Brad
In: Carroll, Brigid; Ford, Jackie and Taylor, Scott eds. Leadership: Contemporary Critical Perspectives (pp. 253-271)
ISBN : 9781446294376 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
Essay: authentic leadership and history (2013-10-31)
Smolović Jones, Owain and Grint, Keith
In: Ladkin, Donna and Spiller, Chellie eds. Authentic Leadership: Clashes, Convergences and Coalescences. New Horizons in Leadership Studies Series (pp. 21-38)
ISBN : 978-1-78100-637-5 | Publisher : Edward Elgar | Published : Cheltenham
Theorising moral-collaborative leadership, or, direction-less-than-domination: Gramsci and beyond (2014)
Smolovic-Jones, S.; Smolovic Jones, O.; Winchester, N. and Grint, K.
In : 13th International Studying Leadership Conference (14-16 December 2014, The Copenhagen Business School)
A game of thrones: power plays and politics in public collaborative leadership. (2013-07)
Smolovic Jones, Owain and Grint, Keith
In : 8th International Conference in Critical Management Studies: Extending the Limits of Neo-Liberal Capitalism (10-12 July 2013, Manchester)
Coming up for air: degrees of freedom in local political leadership (2013-04-22)
Smolovic Jones, Owain; Grint, Keith and Holt, Clare
In : ILA 2013 Oceania Conference: Building the R&D of Leadership (22-24 April 2013, Auckland, NZ)
The desiring gaze of political leadership (2013)
Smolovic Jones, Owain; Jackson, Brad and Grint, Keith
In : NZOZ Political Marketing and Management Mini Conference (31 August 2013, Auckland, NZ)
Participant perspectives: constructing the experience of leadership development (2012-06)
Carroll, Brigid; Smolovic Jones, Owain; Kennedy, Fiona and Francoeur, Joline
In : 4th Annual Developing Leadership Capacity Conference: Leadership for New Times: Where now for leadership development? (28-29 June 2012, Exeter, UK)
An exploration of the value of individualism within a critically-focused process of leadership development (2011-07)
Smolovic Jones, Owain
In : 3rd Developing Leadership Capacity Conference: Leadership Development and Life Experience: Reflections on Becoming Leaders (14-15 July 2011, Bristol, UK)