ERIC Number: EJ1024488
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 47
The Experiences of Senior Positional Leaders in Australian, Irish and Portuguese Universities: Universal or Contingent?
O'Connor, Pat; Carvalho, Teresa; White, Kate
Higher Education Research and Development, v33 n1 p5-18 2014
This article is concerned with the extent to which the leadership of higher education is a universally positive or contingent experience. It draws on comparative data from semi-structured interviews with those in senior leadership positions in public universities in Australia, Ireland and Portugal, countries which are differently located on the collegial/managerial continuum. It looks at their perceptions of the advantages/disadvantages of these positions. Universal trends emerge, arising from difficulties created by the shortage of resources consequent on neo-liberalist pressures; from the non-viability of a managerialist discourse as a source of meaning; from the positive character of the university as a knowledge-generating organisation; and from the gendered satisfactions derived by men and women from occupying these senior leadership positions. Contingent trends include the tension between academic and managerial roles, which is strongest in the Portuguese collegial structures; while the negative impact on personal well-being is most apparent among the Australian respondents in the most managerialist structure. The paper concludes that assumptions that senior leadership positions are universally positive is not supported. It suggests that the attractiveness of these positions--contested in a collegial structure--may be further reduced in increasingly managerialist contexts, with the challenge of diversity, so important to innovation and economic growth, being particularly acute.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Semi Structured Interviews, Public Colleges, College Administration, Educational Trends, Trend Analysis, Instructional Leadership, Neoliberalism, Gender Differences, Content Analysis, Educational Policy, Context Effect, Well Being, Administrator Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Ireland; Portugal