Higher Education Organizational Theory and Leadership

Higher Education Organizational Theory and Leadership

Length: 790 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Higher Education Organizational Theory and Leadership

The following briefing paper has been prepared to assist you in preparing your speech to the local chamber of commerce. The topic you have been asked to speak on is outlining the differences in leading an institution of higher education as opposed to running a for-profit business. The briefing highlights key points from three oft-referenced scholarly articles on the topic of higher education organizational theory and leadership. These points explain higher education structures and the differences between higher education organization and leadership and what your audience might be accustomed to. I have included references for your aid.

Introduction. Higher education and private business have much in common. They use resources to produce a product for a defined client base. They are led by individuals with vision, passion, and leadership for their organizations. At their heart are dedicated people that make up the organization. However, there are also many differences, especially in making these organizations work well.

The Complex Structure of Higher Education. The university is a complex organization. Baldridge, Curtis, Ecker and Riley (1982) found that colleges and universities have characteristics that distinguish them from private enterprises as well as other government organizations. They describe the higher education environment as one where resources allow individuals within the organization room to grow in different directions without the tight restraints seen in other types of environments. They go on to describe the role of the president and other university leaders as catalysts or facilitators rather than the “my way or the highway” mentality of some private CEOs. Baldridge et al. describe this environment as “organized anarchy” where this facilitation role, also described as collegial decision making, leads to an environment where decisions “happen” rather than are “made.” Politically, this environment tends to be mostly inactive with very fluid, fragmented participation. The president assumes the role as “first among equals”, a mediator between power blocs on campus. This is very different in all but a few private corporations.

Loosely Coupled Systems. Weick (1976) takes a very similar view of this organizational theory but from a slightly different perspective. He writes of the higher education institution as a “loosely coupled system”, a system that differs markedly from the organization system of a private enterprise. The basic theory is that, unlike the militaristic ideal of the “tight ship” that many private organizations have adopted, loosely coupled systems have “softer” linkages between each unit of the organization.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Higher Education Organizational Theory and Leadership." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Feb 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Dynamic Change and Collaborative Learning Environments Essay

- Dynamic Change and Collaborative Learning Environments The continuous transformation in educational organization requires investigation of how the organization can be equipped to collaboratively handle constant changes and still improve. Leadership and organizational theory provide the support into looking at how an organization functions and how change happens within that organization. Educational organizations are always trying to catch up; hence, a system of improvement is necessary for teachers to have direct access to in-house experts to learn....   [tags: Education, Leadership and Organizational Theory]

Free Essays
899 words (2.6 pages)

Organizational Leadership Essay

- Organizational leadership The vision gives wings: a study of two hospitals run as limited companies Within this article, two hospitals in the south of Sweden were reorganized as limited companies. Hospital control moved from a local or political method of control to that of a business. Adopting business practices sped up the rate of decision making. The hospitals were able to make a profit while reducing the wait lists for services. Measurement of staff production is used as incentive rather than as punishment....   [tags: Leadership ]

Research Papers
967 words (2.8 pages)

Corporate Culture And Organizational Behavior Essay

- This section is the literature review of this study, and it will contain a summary of the previous studies which about the topic, the key words of these literatures are about effect, profit benefit and responses to the company which have a good organizational culture. Through the understanding of the existing literatures to support and topic of subject of this research proposal, Corporate culture phenomenon was first discovered in the late seventies. In the late eighties, since research on the theory and practice of the concept of corporate culture, many scholars have shown great interest....   [tags: Organizational culture, Organizational studies]

Research Papers
812 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on A Study By Global Leadership And Organizational Effectiveness

- Stock and Genisyürek (2012) reported a study by global leadership and organizational effectiveness (GLOBE) which established 9 cultural aspects for the purpose of ascertaining the similarities and variations that are inherent in societies and in traits. The study was developed upon the findings of Hofstede on cultural studies. The aspects include uncertainty avoidance, power distance institutional collectivism, human orientation, in-group collectivism, assertiveness, future orientation, performance orientation and gender egalitarianism....   [tags: Leadership, Management]

Research Papers
1521 words (4.3 pages)

Leadership Theory And Practice II Essay

- Running head: Interview with a Leader 1 Interview with a Leader 5 Unit 2- Interview with a Leader Michelle Kinyungu GM-503- Leadership Theory and Practice II Dr. Lisa Introduction Transformational leaders are leaders who use practical approaches to lead their organization to the next level. In this week?s unit, transformational, authentic leadership and fostering collaboration were debated. Transformational leadership is about influencing others to achieve organizational goals. Authentic leadership is about an interpersonal perspective in which a leader invest in his followers for advancement....   [tags: Leadership, Management]

Research Papers
822 words (2.3 pages)

The Role Of Leader Member Exchange Leadership Theory On Organizational Behavior

- There is no agreed-upon definition of leadership. Most definitions, however include some common ingredients: the leader, the team, and the project or purpose. What if the project is not a transactional task but is, instead, one of personal, professional, and/or spiritual development. Does the guide in this type of relationship deserve to be considered a leader. Is mentorship more than just a tool used by leaders, instead constituting its own unique category of leadership. The following review presents a discussion of five articles related to leadership....   [tags: Leadership, Big Five personality traits]

Research Papers
1041 words (3 pages)

What Does Leadership Mean? The Context Of Educational Leadership? Essay

- Introduction What does leadership mean in the context of educational leadership. Many definitions of leadership in education co-exist, attesting to the complexity and multi-faceted phenomena of the concept (Elwell & Elikofer, 2013). Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood organizational and psychological areas of study. Despite volumes of research and numerous theories, no one theory of leadership emerged as the sole predictor of the success of educational leaders. The current body of knowledge about leadership consists of narrow definitions of leader effectiveness that are disconnected from their context (Latham, 2014)....   [tags: Leadership, Situational leadership theory]

Research Papers
1458 words (4.2 pages)

Leadership Styles Of Leadership Style Essay

- Personal profile Leadership style Leadership has been defined as mobilizing the workforce towards training organizational goals (Yukl, 1998). The style of the leader is considered to be important in achieving organizational goals and therefore it is important to know your own leadership style as the leadership style will impact on the performance among subordinates (Berson et al., 2001). However this does not mean the leadership style alone will be responsible for all the performance of workers and attainment of goals....   [tags: Leadership, Skill, Situational leadership theory]

Research Papers
2269 words (6.5 pages)

Essay about Organizational Behavior And Concepts

- Organizational Behavior and Concepts Every successful company realizes that one of the most valued assets within the business is the people. "To attract and retain the best qualified people available without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability" (Boeing, 2006, p. 2) . Companies of today focus on continuous personnel development that is necessary to increase the value of an organization's human capital....   [tags: Organizational Behavior Business]

Research Papers
1022 words (2.9 pages)

Leadership Essay

- Introduction According to Northouse (2009), leadership is a concept of multi-dimensional facets inclusive of skill, ability, inherent qualities, behaviors, and relationships. All or some of these dimensions may be observed in an individual that possesses leadership potential in different combinations and can be recognized when intent to make a change in an organization is for the greater good (2009). Even with good intentions and desires for positive changes, pathways to leadership can be locked with long periods of time and laborious experiences....   [tags: Synergistic Leadership Theory]

Research Papers
1564 words (4.5 pages)

Related Searches

The sense of structure can still be seen in the institution’s organization table but these softer, or loose, linkages allow responsive bonds between units while allowing each its own sense of identity, especially on the academic side of the structure. In fact, much of the hierarchy of the administrative side of the organization, with much tighter linkages, would probably seem very comparable to many private organizations. Weick believes that these loose couplings have the added advantages of localized freedom of adaptation, more local independence, responding to fewer environmental changes, isolating weak units, and cutting down on coordination overhead. All of these could be looked upon as the antithesis of the well-run business.

Leading the Anarchy. So it is the job of the president of the university to lead this anarchy. After the previous descriptions, one may wonder how it can be accomplished. Hesburgh (1988) acknowledges that academic leadership is inherently different than military or business leadership – the characteristics of one usually will not work well in the environment of the other. Although Hesburgh outlines leadership traits that do work well in both academic and business spheres: vision, courage, praise, and sensitivity, he also outlines a key trait of the academic leader. “Leadership involves encouraging the subsidiary leaders of each line of endeavor and holding out hope for each of them as they respect current priorities.” He goes on to add that the academic leader must “hold the torch high” so that this organized anarchy might independently reach these shared goals with the “respect” and “hope” the president has provided for the academic culture in his or her care.


Although similar in many respects, higher education institutions and private business do differ in a wide variety of ways. It is in everyone’s best interest, “especially,” as Hesburgh (1988) states, “in during dark days and times of frustrated hopes” that the two cultures understand one another.


Baldridge, J.V., Curtis, D.V., Ecker, G.P., & Riley, G.L. (1982). "Alternative models of governance in higher education. In G.L. Riley & V. Baldridge (Eds.), Governing academic organizations (pp. 2-25). Berkeley, CA: McCutchan Publishing Corporation.

Hesburgh, T. M. (1988). Academic leadership. In J. L. Fisher & M. W. Tark (Eds.), New Directions for Higher Education, 61,5-8.

Weick, K. E. (1976). Education systems as loosely coupled systems. Administrative Science Quarterly, 21. 1_19
Return to 123HelpMe.com