26 SES 16 A, Exploring Educational Leadership in Schools and other Institutions
In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, its leaders are engaging in competitive excellence or innovation strategies (Knie & Simon, 2016) as they increasingly connect their institutions with others around the world. Researchers, too, are globally networked (Bogumil & Heinze, 2009) and are encouraged to develop interdisciplinary and ideally international research bids. Growing demands upon higher education brought about by growing student numbers, an influx of new degree programmes and the need for digitalisation capability call in addition for agile leadership with corresponding management support. The need for supporting roles that can enhance and support strategic leadership decision-making has therefore significantly increased. In Germany, so-called higher education (HE) management has developed as a distinct area of higher education employment in this context.
According to the Konsortium Bundesbericht Wissenschaftlicher Nachwuchs (2017) HE management is characterised by staff who hold higher qualifications and are familiar with the core tasks of teaching and research as they advise and support at the interface between teaching, research and academic administration, typically located in quality management, internationalisation, controlling or technology transfer positions (Harris-Huemmert 2017: 11; Krücken et al., 2010: 237; cf. Krempkow et al. 2019). Also designated higher education professionals (Kehm et al., 2010) they are expected to have undergone a certain kind of training and act in a customer-oriented, ethically correct and mediatory manner (Oevermann 2005). Strong in communication skills they strategically advise upper management higher education leaders such as rectors and chancellors, but also middle management leaders including, for example, faculty deans. They are engaged in support roles that influence strategy-making across institutions not only horizontally, but also vertically, although they themselves do not usually occupy leadership positions of their own (cf. Herbig, 2018). By modifying behaviors and attitudes of HE leaders throughout their institutions we believe, however, that they qualify as leaders in their own right (Hackman & Johnson, 2013: 11) whom we therefore describe as lateral leaders (Kühl et al, 2007). As there is little specific management training available for them at present, they are reliant on their intrinsic ability to lead through their given personality structures, their ability to communicate effectively, collaborate, build effective teams, promote innovation and anticipate and deal with crisis and conflict (Gigliotti & Ruben 2017: 101).
Empirical data that sheds light on lateral leadership competencies of HE managers is missing to date (Lemmens et al., 2017; Nickel 2013; Nickel & Ziegele 2010). With the exception of leadership positions in HE management (cf. Peus et al., 2017: 34 ff; Schmid et al., 2017: 123 ff) there is little or no data that specifically reveals which qualifications or competences are needed or might be helpful (cf. Lemmens et al., 2017, 16). To fill this research gap, we therefore draw upon empirical evidence from a German collaborative research project 'Career Paths and Qualification Requirements in Higher Education Management (KaWuM – www.kawum-online.de) which is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Science and Research (BMBF). In our paper we present data from the qualitative part of the project and focus in particular on the role of lateral leadership competences in HE management.
The three separate projects KaWuM SURVEY, CENTRAL and TRANSFER (which are based in Speyer, Berlin and Bremen respectively) all work in close collaboration with each other. This involves ongoing exchange about contents, instrument design and analysis. SURVEY forms the quantitative, CENTRAL the qualitative project, while TRANSFER, as the name suggests, provides the ongoing exchange of input and respective output for the duration of the project, using transfer workshops, podcasts, blogs, and other social media outlets. Building on KaWuM SURVEY (Berlin), which was conducted during the first stage of the research collaboration (N=1381), KaWuM CENTRAL (Speyer) is generating data on career paths, competencies and qualification requirements by employing a range of qualitative methods including expert interviews and focus groups with different members of the higher education management community and directors, which form the focus here. Furthermore, case studies of different types of higher education institution are also being undertaken in KaWuM CENTRAL. To date the research project has conducted semi-structured interviews with almost 100 science managers at different higher education institutions in varying positions and of different academic backgrounds. The interviews have focused on four topics: 1) Definition of and identification with HE management 2) HE manager’s career paths and advanced training experiences 3) Competences in HE management 4) Professionalization of HE management Due to the Corona pandemic, interviews which were initially planned as face-to-face events at home institutions have all been moved to online Zoom interviews, the majority of which have lasted for 45 minutes. These have been digitally recorded, transcribed and analysed in MaxQDa. In this paper we focus in particular on the third of the four topics named above: competences in HE management, particularly those which involve leadership. Following a horizontal leadership approach, in CENTRAL we use Giolotti and Ruben’s (2017) model of cross-cutting leadership competences (i.e. analytical, organizational, personal competences) to explore whether leadership competences are crucial not only to HE managers in formal leadership positions (i.e. presidents, chancellors, deans and rectors (cf. Nickel & Ziegele 2010, Blümel 2016), but also for HE managers without any formal leadership accountabilities. Analysis from our growing database suggests that so called “lateral leadership” may be an important aspect and competence of modern HE management in its entirety.
Our non-representative study seems to confirm the notion of the growing importance of lateral leadership skills throughout all levels of HE management. The comprehensive analysis of our interviews indicates that communication competences are the most important skill in HE management, which supports Gigliotti and Ruben’s (2017: 97) notion that [...] "by foregrounding the role of communication theory in understanding the dynamics of leadership and leadership influence, effective leadership in higher education is seen as involving the ability to navigate the many challenges, cultures, and stakeholders involved in higher education and engaging colleagues to collaborate in these activities. Communication, thus, serves as an orientation, a world view, a way of understanding leadership that focuses more broadly on the process of social influence.” More specifically we have found data for analytical, organizational, and personal competences being the generic competences of effective leadership – in formal leadership positions as well as in positions without any formal leadership accountability, but which call for a high demand for lateral leadership. We suggest that it will be these competences that HE managers and academic development personnel will have to focus on and develop in order to provide the best support for higher education leaders at the top of their institutions.
Bogumil, J.& Heinze, R. (Eds.) (2009). Neue Steuerung von Hochschulen. Eine Zwischenbilanz. Modernisierung des Öffentlichen Sektors. Sonderbank 34. Baden-Baden: edition sigma. Gigliotti, R.A., & Ruben, B.D. (2017). Preparing Higher Education Leaders: A Conceptual, Strategic, and Operational Approach. Journal of Leadership Education, 16, 96-114. Hackman & Johnson (2013) Leadership. A Communication Perspective. 6th edition. Long Grove: Waveland Press Inc. Harris-Huemmert, S. (2017). Lost in Space? Was die Astronomie über den Third Space lehrt. In P. Pohlenz, S. Harris-Huemmert, & L. Mitterauer (Eds.), Reihe: Qualität - Evaluation - Akkreditierung: Vol. 11. Third Space revisited. Jeder für sich oder alle für ein Ziel? 1st ed., 9-18. Bielefeld: UVW UniversitätsVerlagWebler. Herbig, T. (2018) Lateral Leadership: A Practical Guide for Agile product managers. United States: Sense and Respond Press. Kehm, B. M., Merkator, N., & Schneijderberg, C. (2010). Hochschulprofessionelle?! Die unbekannten Wesen. Zeitschrift Für Empirische Hochschulforschung (ZFEH), 5(4), 23-39. Konsortium Bundesbericht Wissenschaftlicher Nachwuchs (2017). Bundesbericht Wissenschaftlicher Nachwuchs 2017: Statistische Daten und Forschungsbefunde zu Promovierenden und Promovierten in Deutschland. Bielefeld: W. Bertelsmann Verlag. Retrieved from http://www.oapen.org/search?identifier=640942 https://doi.org/10.3278/6004603w Krempkow, R., Harris-Huemmert, S., Hölscher, M., & Janson, K. (2019). Was ist die Rolle des Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsmanagements bei der Entwicklung von Hochschulen als Organisation? Personal- und Organisationsentwicklung. P-OE 14(1), 6-15. Krücken, G., Blümel, A., & Kloke, K. (2010). Hochschulmanagement - Auf dem Weg zu einer neuen Profession? WSI Mitteilungen, 5, 234-241. Kühl, S., Schnelle, T. & Tillmann, F.-J. (2005) Lateral leadership: An organizational approach to change, Journal of Change Management, 5:2, 177-189, DOI: 10.1080/14697010500098205 Lemmens, M., Horváth, P., & Seiter, M. (Eds.) (2017). Wissenschaftsmanagement: Handbuch & Kommentar (1st ed.). Bonn-Berlin: Lemmens. Nickel, S. (2013). Neue Tätigkeitsprofile, neue Feindbilder? Karrierewege im Wissenschaftsmanagement im internationalen Vergleich. Arbeitsplatz Hochschule Im Wandel.Zoom. (3), 35-45. Nickel, S., & Ziegele, F. (2010). Karriereförderung im Wissenschaftsmanagement - nationale und internationale Modelle. Eine empirische Vergleichsstudie im Auftrag des BMBF. Gütersloh: CHE. Oevermann, U. (2005). Wissenschaft als Beruf: Die Professionalisierung wissenschaftlichen Handelns und die gegenwärtige Universitätsentwicklung. Die Hochschule. (1), 15-51. Peus, C., Knipfer, K., & Schmid, E. (2017). Effektive Führung steht im Zentrum. In M. Lemmens, P. Horváth, & M. Seiter (Hrsg.), Wissenschaftsmanagement – Handbuch und Kommentar. Bonn: Lemmens Medien GmbH, 32-45. Schmid E., Knipfer K. & Peus C. (2017) Führend forschen und forschend führen – Empirische Ergebnisse zur Führung in der Wissenschaft. In: Truniger L. (eds) Führen in Hochschulen. Wiesbaden: Springer, 123-132.
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