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ERIC Number: ED515990
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 192
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-0312-5
The New University President: Communicating a Vision, Cultural Competency, and Symbolic Cultural Forms
Wiser, Elizabeth Anne
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
University presidents are the institutional leaders responsible for guiding the direction of an institution. The president serves both as the symbolic leader of a university and as one responsible for directing change. When a new president arrives, the institution assumes and prepares for change and a new direction. One measure of presidential effectiveness is the ability for a president to develop and communicate a vision. A new president can assist in making a vision understandable for a campus community by using images and symbols that not only represent the culture of the institution but also create a picture of the direction for the institution. An effective vision is one that creates meaning for the members of the institution and that illustrates direction in a way to which the campus community can relate (Nanus, 1998). This inquiry examined the ways in which a new university president uses the existing cultural symbolic forms to communicate a vision. A model of presidential cultural competency was developed to illuminate the dynamics of how a president understands and uses the culture to present an institutional vision. The results illustrate the importance of a new president learning the culture through listening in order to develop a level of trust with the campus community. Through understanding the culture, through performing the culture, and through feedback from the campus community, the new president develops a level of cultural competency that supports the president's ability to communicate and implement a new institutional vision. The president uses tools to understand the culture, such as listening, conversation, observation, hearing stories, and the feedback received from campus community members. The campus members consider the presidential actions and decisions. Trust develops when actions are viewed as culturally congruent. As trust develops, the president can make decisions that may change the institution. When the president's actions demonstrate an appreciation for the institutional values, beliefs and underlying assumptions, then the president can bring about change. The central insight revealed by this study is the critical importance of a president understanding the culture and relating the vision to the institutional culture. The goals of this inquiry are to illuminate how institutions handle presidential transitions and how new presidents pay attention to institutional culture when attempting to bring about institutional change. The results can help inform Boards of Trustees to better appreciate the complexity of selecting a new president and the importance of selecting the appropriate match for the institution. Finally, the results can assist new presidents in examining the process of understanding the culture and using cultural symbolic forms to develop and communicate a vision. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A