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Focusing the kaleidoscope: exploring distributed leadership in an English university

Floyd, Alan and Fung, Dilly (2017). Focusing the kaleidoscope: exploring distributed leadership in an English university. Studies in Higher Education, 42(8) pp. 1488–1503.

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In the UK and elsewhere, the idea of ‘distributing leadership’ in universities is becoming more popular. Yet, there is surprisingly little research on this topic. This paper reports on a funded study which explored how one institution had implemented a newly conceived ‘distributed’ leadership model, specifically to investigate the impact of the model on the academics who had taken on the new leadership positions within the university. The study adopted an exploratory, sequential mixed methods design with in-depth interviews (n=30) being undertaken first, followed by an online survey (n=177). The findings suggest that the challenge of ‘distributed leadership’ in universities is complex on a number of levels: the plurality of the institutional mission; the diversity of possible leadership/management roles; the challenge of effective communication; and the effects of traditional academic values and identities, which may support but may also be antithetical to the strategic direction of the institution.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 Society for Research into Higher Education
ISSN: 1470-174X
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Investigating the newly formed role of “Academic Lead” at a research-led UniversityNot SetLeadership Foundation for Higher Education
Keywords: identity; university purpose; values; communication
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Education Futures
Item ID: 44644
Depositing User: Alan Floyd
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2016 14:28
Last Modified: 02 May 2018 14:14
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