Dr Will Jennings
ESRC Research Fellow
BA, MA, MSc, DPhil
Room Number: 1.8 [Humanities Bridgeford Street Building]
Tel: +44(0)161 306 6560
Fax: +44(0)161 275 0793
I joined the University of Manchester in October 2008 as ESRC / Hallsworth Research Fellow working on an ESRC-funded research project titled “Going for Gold: The Olympics, Risk and Risk Management” (RES-063-27-0205). I also am Co-Director of the UK Policy Agendas Project (www.policyagendas.org.uk), based in Manchester and also funded by the ESRC (RES-062-23-0872). My doctoral research at the University of Oxford between 2001 and 2004 undertook a qualitative analysis of the relationship between government policies of celebration and public opinion in cases drawn from the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. Since then I have continued to take an interest the management of risk at mega-events as well as in the nature of the relationship between public opinion and the behaviour of elected government and officials. My research on the Olympics and risk explores governmental and organizational responses to risk in bidding for, planning and staging of the Olympic Games. This analyses the degree to which risk is a mobilizing concept within the Olympic movement and in staging of the Games as well as the specific systems, instruments and modes of 'risk management' used by Olympic organizers (e.g. insurance, budgetary controls). My research on policy-opinion responsiveness tends now to focus at the macro-level using quantitative methods in contrast to my earlier qualitative approach. While theoretical concerns remain at the core of this research agenda, a growing interest in political methodology – in particular time series analysis and applied statistics using software packages such as STATA – has led me to undertake analyses of aggregate-level dynamics of policy-opinion responsiveness, bureaucratic control, agenda-setting, issue ownership and competence of political parties, blame avoidance by public officeholders and public attention to 'issues' and 'problems'. I am a member of the UK Political Studies Association and the American Political Science Association and a Research Associate at the ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Specific research interests
Comparative and British Politics and Public Policy, Public Opinion and Electoral Behaviour, Public Administration, Agenda-Setting, Blame Avoidance by Public Officeholders, Political Methodology, Corporate Rewards of Former High Public Officials, and the Politics and the Management of Risk in Mega-Projects and Mega-Events such as the Olympic Games.
Current research projects
'Legislative Policy Agendas in the UK' (RES-062-23-0872), Co-investigator (with Peter John, University of Manchester and Darren Halpin, Robert Gordon University), part of a European Science Foundation (ESF) EUROCORES European Collaborative Research Projects (ECRP) application, 'The Politics of Attention: West European politics and agenda-setting in times of change', project led by Professor Stefaan Walgrave, University of Antwerp.
ESRC Research Fellowship (RES-063-27-0205), 'Going for Gold: The Olympics, Risk and Risk Management'), Principal Investigator.
'Managing Political and Reputational Risk in a High Blame Context', Co-investigator (with Christopher Hood, University of Oxford), ESRC Centre for Analysis for Risk and Regulation research award.
Recent and forthcoming publications
Will Jennings. 2008. 'London 2012: Olympic Risk, Risk Management, and Olymponomics', John Liner Review 22(2): 39-45.
Will Jennings. 2009. 'The Public Thermostat, Political Responsiveness and Error-Correction: Border Control and Asylum in Britain, 1994-2007.' British Journal of Political Science 39(4): 847-870.
Will Jennings and Peter John. 2009. 'The Dynamics of Political Attention: Public Opinion and the Queen's Speech in the United Kingdom.' American Journal of Political Science 53(4): 838-854.
Christopher Hood, Will Jennings, Brian Hogwood, Ruth Dixon and Craig Beeston, 2009, 'Testing Times: Exploring Staged Responses and the Impact of Blame Management Strategies in two Exam Fiasco cases.' European Journal of Political Research 48(6): 695-722.
Peter John and Will Jennings, in press, 'Punctuations and Turning Points in British Politics: the Policy Agenda of the Queen's Speech, 1940-2005', British Journal of Political Science.
Will Jennings and Martin Lodge, in press, 'Critical Infrastructures, Resilience and Organisation of Mega-Projects: the Olympic Games', chapter to be published in Bridget Hutter (ed.) Anticipating Risks and Organising Risk Regulation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Media Expertise: the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Olympics and risk, public opinion and policy agendas.
Media Experience: television and radio.