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An Ecological View of Distributed Leadership for Higher Education

Sandra Jones (RMIT University, Australia)

International Perspectives on Leadership in Higher Education

ISBN: 978-1-80262-306-2, eISBN: 978-1-80262-305-5

Publication date: 21 November 2022


The immediate financial and operational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education have resulted in short-term responses focused on reducing costs. This has included decreasing the size of the permanent workforce, pausing senior executive pay and replacing face-to-face with online teaching. The impact of these changes on employees who provide education, research and student support has been significant. To enable higher education to respond effectively to future complexity requires a more strategic approach designed to build employees commitment. The extent of change requires a move away from the current control-oriented, individualist and hierarchical administrative management approach that characterises higher education, towards a more collaborative leadership approach. Based on a case study of Australian higher education, the chapter unpacks how, in combination, the elements of an ecological view of leadership, actioned through multiple double-loop feedback based on the six tenets of a distributed leadership approach, can underpin a collaborative leadership approach designed to build employee commitment.



Jones, S. (2022), "An Ecological View of Distributed Leadership for Higher Education", Blair, A., Evans, D., Hughes, C. and Tight, M. (Ed.) International Perspectives on Leadership in Higher Education (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 15), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 255-269.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Sandra Jones. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited