“Leadership” in UKHE – ‘heroic narratives’.

Picking up on some of the themes from investigations into ‘excellence’ in academic publication, a new report from the ‘Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’ sheds some none-too-flattering light on the nature of ‘leadership’ in our ‘steemed institutions of learning, and the evidence upon which claims made for it are based.  It makes some very interesting, and revealing reading.  For example, a nugget from p.7:

Failures in leadership, for example, or behind-thescenes
micropolitical tactics, are not often researched
in education. Heroic narratives tend to prevail. The
focus is usually on those in formal leadership roles.
Data is consequently often skewed to the perspective
of the limited group in authority roles rather than the
recipients of its effects; staff, students and the wider
community. There is also a fundamental bias in that
leadership research undertaken in both corporate
and educational settings predominantly reflects
the experience of white, middle-class men.  The
theory that it generates is shaped by a discriminatory
system that selectively privileges their entry into, and
incumbency of, leadership roles.  On all these grounds,
the depiction of leaders and leadership is therefore a
construction reflecting a very particular world view.

Now who’d have thought it….?

Anyway, despite quoting some very dodgy research (the names Lilley and Bryman both appear!) it makes some amusing reading.  Nice to have the accountability spotlight shining in the other direction for a change.  Full report dowloadable from here.

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