Owain Smolović Jones

Senior Lecturer in People Management and Organisation, The Open University

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.

My research focus is largely in the area of the political 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.


  • –present
    Lecturer in Organisation Studies, The Open University