30 August 2023 | Report

HE Transformation Leadership – an analysis of emergent and high potential leadership styles

This report is another NEWLEAD project output exploring the transformation agenda in the higher education context and leadership styles.

HEIs operate in a global environment that is evolving quickly. New technologies combined with complex political, economic, socio-demographic, and environmental pressures present a multitude of challenges. In addition, the HE sector is a culturally embedded sector with a relatively high level of specialisation and intellectual capital. However, academic leaders in public HEIs tend to gain leadership experience through several positions at university. Leadership development classically occurs through the acquisition of experience in different institutional roles: lecturer, head of department, dean, vice-rector, rector.

Ten leadership styles are presented by the report, including authoritative (autocratic), participative (democratic), delegative (laissez-faire), transactional, transformational, visionary, decentralised (shared), inclusive, servant and resonant. The report concludes that whilst each leadership style has its strengths, those with a more directive or controlling quality such as the autocratic and transactional leadership styles have relatively lower appeal and effectiveness in an HE environment characterised by high levels of autonomy. Leadership styles that promote engagement, service, collaboration, and inclusion, especially when directed toward shared purpose or intentionality, have potential better fit and efficacy.

logosbeneficaireserasmusright enThe European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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