An Exploration of Effective Leadership Facets at Head of Department level in the Institute of Technology (IOT) Sector in Ireland

Neil O'Sullivan

    Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    Abstract

    Change management is becoming increasingly important in the public sector. The role of leadership in delivering such change is critical yet remains under-researched, Sadeghi and Pihie, (2012). Focusing on higher education, this study will address this gap by exploring effective leadership facets at Head of Department (HOD) level in the Institute of Technology (IOT) sector in Ireland. Using a conceptual model developed by Bryman for the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) (2007; 2009) in the United Kingdom, the study explores the leadership facets which are deemed important for IOT HODs and also the extent to which these leadership behaviours are displayed by incumbent HODs. The study was conducted in eleven Institutes of Technology in Ireland amongst academic staff. The number of responses received was 327 equating to a response rate of 10.4%. The findings indicate strong support for the importance of all eleven leadership facets set out in the LFHE study for HOD leadership effectiveness. However, the extent to which HODs actually display these leadership facets is statistically significantly lower than the importance ratings for each of the eleven behaviours. Additionally, qualitative data presents some negative perceptions of leadership facets at HOD level and there were also comments pointing to additional important leadership facets for HODs which could form the basis of further research studies. The study contributes to the field by providing insights into higher education leadership within the public sector and presents a study which is the first of its kind to do so in Ireland. The second substantial contribution is the identification of a competency framework for the IoT HOD role which can be used for leadership development initiatives aimed at enhancing HOD leadership effectiveness. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications for research and practice and the limitations of the current study.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

    Keywords

    • Leadership

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