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Dr Mary Lee Rhodes

Associate Professor in Public Management

Room 408
01 896 2703

Mary Lee Rhodes (BA, MSc, MBA, PhD) is an Associate Professor of Public Management at Trinity College, Dublin. Her research is focused on complex public service systems and the dynamics of performance, value and impact. She is the co-Director of the Trinity Centre for Social Innovation and has expertise in research, consulting and management in the public and non-profit sectors along with extensive private sector experience in banking and ICT management.

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Dr. Rhodes has published numerous articles, chapters and books on complexity and public management – largely related to housing and homelessness. She is currently on the editorial boards of Public Management Review and Complexity, Governance and Networks.

Her current research is on social investment and impact and she is developing research on social innovation, social finance and measures of well-being. Her PhD students are exploring topics related to urban resilience and social innovation and she will be developing new projects in social value creation by firms.

Over the last decade, Dr. Rhodes has served on several government and non-profit Boards in the housing sector. She has recently been appointed Chair of the interim Regulatory Committee for Social Housing in Ireland and sits on the Dublin Docklands Oversight Committee. Going forward, she will be developing relationships with firms in the UK and Ireland interested in expanding their social impact profile.

I am interested in how the ‘wicked’ problems of public policy an practice may be untangled and addressed through the use of complex systems perspectives. Within this context, I am currently exploring how the measurement of well-being, resilience, sustainability and/or social impact may provide useful feedback for policy makers and organisations within public service systems.

  • Connecting Nature (H2020): defining measures of impact and sustainability at the firm and city levels for nature based solutions (NBS) in urban development.
  • Social Impact Bonds: Case studies and role in complex public service systems
  • ‘Socialising’ the Private Sector: Exploring the role that firms currently and potential could play in social value creation and the well-being of communities.


1. Managing the Entanglement: Complexity Leadership in Public Sector Systems
Murphy, Joanne, Rhodes, ML, Meek, Jack, Denyer, David (2016), “Managing the Entanglement: Complexity Leadership in Public Sector Systems”, Public Administration Review

2. Hybridity and Social Entrepreneurship in Social Housing in Ireland
Rhodes, ML and Gemma Donnelly-Cox (2014), “Hybridity and Social Entrepreneurship in Social Housing in Ireland”, Voluntas, (January)

3.Progress & Pitfalls in public service reform and performance management in Ireland
Rhodes, ML and Boyle, Richard (2012), “Progress & Pitfalls in public service reform and performance management in Ireland”, Administration, vol.1, pp. 31 - 59

For a full list click here


    1. Complexity Theory, Networks and Systems Analysis.
    Koliba, C., Gerrts, L., Rhodes, ML, and Meek, J. (2016). Complexity Theory, Networks and Systems Analysis. Chap 30 in Ansell, C. and Torfing, J. (eds.) Handbook on Theories of Governance. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. 364-379.

    2. Innovation in Complex Public Service Systems
    Rhodes, ML (2012) "Innovation in Complex Public Service Systems" Chapter 22 in Stephen P. Osborne & Louise Brown (eds), Handbook of Innovation in Public Services, UK, Edward Elgar, 2012

    3.Advancing Public Service Governance Theory
    Rhodes, ML (2012) "Advancing Public Service Governance Theory" in editor(s) P.K. Marks, Frank Boon & Lasse Gerrits , COMPACT I: Public Administration in Complexity, Arizona, NM, Emergent Publications, pp 251 – 275

    For a full list click here