This study explored how university staff view and cope with change. It aimed to develop an understanding of the role and dynamics of formal and informal leadership practices and strategies. It also aimed to make evidencebased recommendations grounded in real world challenges to support programmes and interventions suited to promoting the career development of ‘leaders’ at all levels.
Dr Cristina Devecchi, The University of Northampton
Dr Hala Mansour, The University of Northampton
Mr Nick Allen, The University of Northampton
Dr Jackie Potter, Keele University
Although profound changes redefining the role, mission and value of universities are sweeping through the HE sector, current conceptualizations of leadership and change management lean towards New Public Management’s high-level objectives and efficiency (Mansour, et al, 2015). Alternative models, such as Whitchurch’s (2013) concept of ‘third space’, the strategic management of intellectual capital, primarily human resources (Devecchi and Petford, 2015), and notions of shared or even absent leadership (Laloux, 2015; Robertson, 2015) provide new ways to analyse how managers, senior leaders, academics and members of the professional services can create new and mutually effective ways of working together.
Through a mixed method approach, this project develops an understanding, through the use of change management and shared leadership theory, of the dynamics of formal and informal leadership practices and strategies, and how these impact on academics, professional services, managers, governors and formal leaders’ ability to cope with change. It seeks to answer what HE stakeholders’ main values and attitudes toward change and change in leadership patterns are and how each group of stakeholders view each other’s contribution to leading change. The findings will have a future impact on supporting the HE workforce to develop institutional and personal leadership for change.