What is it about?

The theory and practice of higher education leadership includes a wide range of ideological viewpoints regarding its essence and objectives. Drawing on an extensive literature review, which includes over 250 books, book chapters, reports, and journal articles, this paper identifies three key perspectives that shed light on the complexities of leadership in universities: (1) Traditionalist: This perspective emphasizes the cultural context, contending that the adoption of neoliberal business practices within university leadership and management has eroded academic self-governance. It raises concerns about preserving the distinctiveness of higher education. (2) Reformist: From a social justice standpoint, this perspective advocates for a more democratic and inclusive leadership style. It calls for active participation from historically underrepresented groups, aiming to align university leadership with societal values. (3) Pragmatist: Functionally oriented, this perspective focuses on identifying the necessary capabilities, skills, and competences for effective leadership at all levels within universities. It seeks practical solutions for managing and driving positive change in the higher education environment.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

These three perspectives offer valuable insights into the culture, values, and competences associated with university leadership. They reflect the unique ethos of higher education (traditionalist), its alignment with broader societal values (reformist), and practical approaches to navigating organizational challenges (pragmatist). Understanding these viewpoints and the knowledge embedded in the literature can inform the evolution of leadership development and practice, aligning them with contemporary organizational needs and societal expectations.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Three perspectives on leadership in higher education: traditionalist, reformist, pragmatist, Higher Education, January 2024, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1007/s10734-023-01174-x.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page