In this essay, the specific leadership changes implemented by the university’s administration in the selected case study will be discussed with the help of the information presented in the recent scholarly articles. In addition, the essay will contain the critique of the leadership styles used by the case university and a descriptive proposal of the best leadership practices for the facilitation of change. The overall purpose of the paper is to explore, critique, and evaluate the described change process and its connection to leadership styles in the organization.
Changes and Transitions Undergone by the Case University
In the case study, Randall (2012) noted that it is unwise and impractical for the organizations undergoing change to rely on the individual-centric leadership styles that are based on the specific perspectives and behaviors of a single person in charge. Instead, the author proposed using the strategies and methods that are more adaptive such as process leadership (Randall, 2012).
The change that took place in the case university was complex and multifaceted and covered such organizational components as information technology, facilities, faculty, academic and student affairs (Randall, 2013). In order to implement the change successfully, the organization’s leaders established two committees involved in its planning in regard to the required resources (human, physical, and financial) and the learning experience needed for the lower division organization. Further, the creation of the two responsible authority bodies led to the formation of eight other committees and groups involving at least one-quarter of the staff.
Corresponding Leadership Styles in Place at the University as the Institution Underwent Changes
In order to plan and implement the required transformations, the case university employed an adaptive model of leadership introduced by Heifetz (Randall, 2012). This solution was facilitated by the urgent need for transformation in the leadership style and methods in place prior to the planning and implementation of change.
To be more precise, the need for change that was revealed once the financial performance of the university was discussed in a detailed and clear manner served as an indicator of the inappropriateness of the leadership style that was dominant in the organization previously. In particular, it caused the organization to become stagnant, and therefore, could be characterized as ineffective. The old model of leadership was centralized and did not provide the kind of guidance the organization required.
The new leadership model adopted by the organization was focused on the establishment of a decentralized type of management covering many different organizational components and providing effective communication between them. The major benefit of the new model of leadership was its flexibility and adaptability to the versatile challenges and needs faced by different parts of the university and the growing density of operations that had to be introduced in order to match the increased demand for the educational services and the quality of the education expected by the students.
Critique of Leadership at the University
The concept of leadership has a rather complex dynamics that involves a multitude of spheres of knowledge such as management, psychology, sociology, political and historical science, among others (Eberly, Johnson, Hernandez, & Avolio, 2013).
Moreover, when it comes to the leadership in the educational institutions such as the case university, they often experience pressure to change: as a result, the level of readiness and resistance to change may be low thus slowing down or complicating the practices aimed at fostering or implementing transformations (Yilmaz & Kilicoglu, 2013).
Throughout the previous years, the university was perceived by its employees and leaders as a successful educational institution. The need for change was acknowledged later when the problems became visible and impossible to avoid. The delay in the required transformation occurred due to the leaders’ inability to track the performance of this organization and its challenges and the ineffective communication of the present situation, difficulties, and their implications for the university’s future. This state of affairs occurred due to the top-down approach and a hierarchical model of management in the organization. Differently put, the higher leadership of the organization was not well-informed about what was happening at the bottom levels and thus continued to overlook the persisting issues and allowed the performance of the university and its reputation to decline.
As specified by Sharma and Jain (2013), process leadership is based on the active interactions between leaders and their followers, as well as their mutual influence on one another. The previous leadership style employed in the case university lacked this kind of interaction and thus caused the stagnation and the declining performance. The adaptive leadership model enabled a penetrative system including many different components of the organization and was based on the shared knowledge of the latest news about their performance, resources, plans, and challenges. In that way, such model allows more autonomy to the different parts of the university but also provides them with better and more informed guidance keeping the top leaders and managers on track with the change.
Since the decision to implement change was sudden for the leaders of the university, the employees’ readiness became a critical factor in the success of the overall process. Usually, the organizational change is introduced through three major stages – planning, transition, and maintenance (Ikinci, 2014). In the six-step process that took place at the case university, the stage of planning and preparation was approached from a variety of angles thus ensuring that all the obstacles were eliminated and the staff members’ readiness was in place.
Descriptive Proposal of Best Leadership Practices within the Current Context of Higher Education
Contemporary higher education is a dynamically developing field that requires the organizations and their leadership to become flexible and be able to adjust quickly to the changing environments and trends (Black, 2015). Also, the staff of the educational facilities plays a critical role in the process of planning and implementation of change. Therefore, the proposed best leadership practices should be based on the decentralized model of management offering autonomy to different faculties and departments of the institutions (Black, 2015). Moreover, under the current circumstances, the change in the education institutions needs to be based on a thorough review and research of the internal affairs and be undertaken only when the inner communication and operational issues are handled. Finally, in educational facilities, leadership should draw from the perceptions and ideas of the students and the staff. As a result, it is important to establish an ongoing communication between the administration, workers, and learners for the purpose of keeping all of the parties informed of the emerging challenges, the desired changes, and the upcoming transformations.
As specified by Randall in the case study (2012), the enrollment and educational needs of the contemporary students have been gradually growing for several decades. As a result, many of the modern educational institutions are facing the need to adapt to the growing demand for education and adjust the provided services to the changing environment in the field. The case study by Randall is focused on the examination of the alterations experienced by one university and the changes its leadership had to introduce in order to transform a higher division organization into a 4-year educational institution.
Black, S. A. (2015). Qualities of effective leadership in higher education. Open Journal of Leadership, 4, 54-66.
Eberly, M. D., Johnson, M. D., Hernandez, M., & Avolio, B. J. (2013). An integrative process model of leadership: Examining loci, mechanisms, and event cycles. American Psychologist, 68(6), 427-443.
Ikinci, S. S. (2014). Organizational change: Importance of leadership style and training. Management and Organizational Studies, 1(2), 122-128.
Randall, L. M. (2012). Transforming a university: A study of process leadership. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 16(2), 1-20.
Sharma, M. K., & Jain S. (2013). Leadership management: Principles, models and theories. Global Journal of Management and Business Studies, 3(3), 309-318.
Yilmaz, D., & Kilicoglu, G. (2013). Resistance to change and ways of reducing resistance in educational organizations. European Journal of Research on Education, 1(1), 14-21.