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ERIC Number: ED516526
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 269
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-3998-5
Exploring the Essence of Relational Leadership in the Role of University President
McMurray, Aaron P.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Gonzaga University
In recent decades, the literature on leadership studies has displayed a gradual shift away from traditional, hierarchical models of leadership and management, towards more democratic and relational approaches. Reciprocal leadership theories, which emphasize the mutual and relational nature of the leadership process, have been the focus of increasing empirical research. Examples include transforming leadership, servant leadership and relational leadership. Simultaneously, researchers have attempted to understand the nature of effective leadership in the university context. The democratic, pluralistic and increasingly complex environment of the university setting poses a unique challenge for academic leaders. Despite this mounting literature on leadership, a gap remains in the specific exploration of relational leadership in the role of university president. This study contributes to a deeper understanding of the essence of relational leadership in the role of university presidents. A qualitative methodology was used with data collected through individual interviews and analyzed and interpreted through a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Findings are useful to researchers and practitioners of academic leadership and relational leadership. The findings from this study suggest that a common theme among relational leaders in the role of university president is a deep integration between the inner self- transcendence of the leader, and the outer expressions of that self-transcendence in authentic leadership practice. Termed transcendent authenticity, the theme implies that relational leaders share a common passion for the purpose and mission of the institutions they serve, and that passion is deeply rooted in a transcendent understanding of their true selves, resulting in a more evocative form of relational leadership. Additionally, this study suggests that a central theme of presidents who exercise relational leadership is a sense that they have been entrusted with something sacred in their leadership role in the university. Although not a strong theme in the literature review, the unanimity of respondents in framing their leadership role in terms of a sacred entrusting on behalf of the constituents who make up the institution, suggests that this notion of being entrusted with the sacred is an important construct of relational leadership in the role of university president. [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