Role of Leaders in Managing Higher Education: Volume 48

Cover of Role of Leaders in Managing Higher Education

Table of contents

(11 chapters)


Pages i-viii
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Part I: Leadership Styles


Academic institutions are undergoing drastic changes in recent years due to dwindling funds, low enrollment numbers, and fierce domestic and international competition, along with a two-year closure of university premises due to the pandemic. Quality assurance of academic institution has also come under scrutiny with mounting criticism for its failure to adapt to current social and economic requirements. Incoherent and ad hoc reform system and hurried strategic vision have been blamed on the role of the leaders and their lack of engagement with the stakeholders. Students have been repeatedly asking for the necessity to focus on academic teaching along with learning activities, active participative strategies with a focus toward increasing acquired competence and capabilities that will enable their marketability, post-completion of their education. This book volume stresses the role of leaders in educational institutions. The collection of work by various authors talks about the autonomy of faculty members based on bonds created on ethics. The style of leadership and the concept of democracy and social justice also play a role in leadership. Authors have emphasized that higher educational institutions need to look beyond regular extrinsic motivators to ensure employee engagement to mentor students effectively as well as explore the concept of the glass ceiling and regressive cultures that poses impediments to women as leaders in universities and other educational institutions.


This chapter determines the impact of potential leaders in enabling professional independence to teachers in Autonomous Educational Institutions located in rural areas across the globe. The performance of students and institutions is majorly driven by the quality of teachers. Students perceive that a teacher should develop a responsible bond with students by sharing valuable knowledge following principles of ethics. Autonomous Institutions perceive that a teacher should commit toward their duties being a loyal person. Higher Education Commission of India governs and promotes same set of norms for regulation and academic standards (University Grants Commission, 2020).

Teachers with content-focused teaching and experienced teaching positively impacted on the development and achievement of students. Teachers play a vital role in the development of students’ personality and build their abilities to overcome challenges in professional and personal life events (Harris & Sass, 2008). So a teacher should be motivated to deliver their responsibilities with dedication and institutions should provide autonomy to both teachers and students for better growth of each individual. Quantitative research methodology is applied using Questionnaire as an instrument to measure three variables, namely teacher-learner autonomy, values-driven culture, and need of transformational leadership. Targeted population includes teaching, non-teaching staff, scholars, and students from autonomous higher educational institutions located in rural and semi-urban areas. The outcomes detail about the need of autonomy to teachers and students in institutional environment and the type of culture that inculcates ethics and morals in the lifestyle of students and teachers for positive transformation.


This chapter is concerned with academic citizenry in higher education, and the conditions created within institutions for transformative leadership. This is central to the fitness-for-purpose of higher education institutions to drive the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Drawing from a mixed-method study, the chapter explores the patterns which emerged from literature, questionnaire responses, and semi-structured interviews about the problematics at play within six institutions in the post-colonial contexts of India and South Africa. The two upper middle-income contexts have strong constitutional commitments to democracy and social justice at the macro-level, with bold policy interventions undertaken at meso-level to address the legacies of exclusion and oppression in student enrollment and staff composition in HE. However, recent fraught dynamics and unrest within the sector in each country have brought renewed attention to the politics of participation and a breakdown in trust of governance and management.

In this study, the standpoint of key stakeholders was prioritized, including those in assigned leadership positions and academic staff. Particular attention was paid to gender and intersectional inequalities, impacting academic staff, and what they revealed about the persistence of policy-implementation gaps and their relation to principle-implementation gaps. Concerns are raised about impoverished comprehensions of, and conditions for, sustainable ethical leadership which emerged across both contexts.


Currently, leadership is a recurring theme in the field of education. There is also a number of research that examined school leadership from different perspectives. Some of these studies pay greater attention on school leadership policies while others focused on the key role of school leadership. Leadership is, as will be shown in this chapter, key to developing school practices that support schools to become effective organizations. Although, researchers usually defined leadership according to their individual perspectives and the aspects of the phenomenon which is of interest to them, some perspectives have been more influential than others. In this sense, these authors see leadership as a process which encourages staff at variety of levels take on leadership role. This approach of leadership not only synthesizes distributed model but also provides an opportunity to capture how leaders encourage and manage school improvement in practice. With this mind, this chapter examines the nature of leadership in one school in the UK to see whether it facilitates distribution of leadership. The data was collected using semi-structured qualitative interview with the headteacher of the school. The data collected was analyzed by reading the interview transcript many times, highlighting what was considered important. From the headteacher’s responses, recurring school practices – collaboration, shared leadership, learning culture, school connection with communities, and school response to SEN children – emerged. However, these findings should be considered with caution because the study was carried out in one school. A reasonable number of schools would have possibly provided more corroborated evidence. However, the findings can possibly further thinking in other schools with similar situations.


The progress of a nation is quite closely linked with the quality of education it offers its citizens. The onus of nurturing future leaders, the students, lies significantly with higher educational institutions (HEIs) and the academic staff associated with such institutions. Therefore, HEIs need so that these engaged employees may go on to look beyond regular extrinsic motivators to ensure employee engagement to mentor students effectively. In this study, we attempted to investigate the influence of an important predictor of employee engagement, leadership, specifically servant leadership style mediated through job satisfaction. A structured questionnaire was administered to the academic staff of the top 25 universities in India. The data collected and the proposed hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling. The results confirmed that job satisfaction mediates the relationship between servant leadership and work engagement. The study offers insights into the importance of servant leadership to foster employee engagement and thereby institutional effectiveness in the educational sector.

Part II: Glass Ceiling


Being born as a woman and trying to establish oneself in a patriarchal male-dominated society has never been easy. Irrespective of boundaries and geographical context the glass ceiling has always been there, only the degree of its resistance may have varied. The cleavage of inequality is visible in all areas of life and the education sector has not remained untouched. Even today, there lies an imbalance between gender in the educational organizations both as enrolled students, faculty members, or staff. In many countries, women have been able to overcome the bias, with ample support from the policy-makers who ensures reservation and equal representation of both. There have been less fortunate ones in countries that are yet to play their part on gender equity and equal representation owing to socio-economic or cultural issues. Afghanistan has witnessed a raging war for the last 40 odd years which has affected the country’s wellbeing and more so of women. Restricted mobility, imposition of laws to stop educating women, security threats, and untimely ending of the life of women who strive to achieve their position has pushed the plight of women behind by hundreds of years. Regressive culture has stopped women from accessing education resulting in deep-rooted inequalities and the disadvantageous position of women in society, exposing their vulnerabilities.

This study uses a combination of qualitative interviews and an autoethnographical data to gain insights into the challenges faced by women in higher education institutions in Afghanistan. It also examines the roles such women are playing in their various professions. Thirteen women shared their experiences and how they were empowered through education to realize their potentials. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis to reveal their interpretation about leadership and education as an agency for social upward mobility among Afghan women. The study was done before the fall of Kabul on August 15, 2021, situation has considerably changed since then with most of the post-redundant and non-existent or not open for women.


There has been a continuous growth in the number of women leaders in higher education globally. Since 2005, there has been close to 50% growth in women with doctoral degrees. However, this has not resulted in similar growth of women is leadership positions in higher education. Women in turn have struggled a lot due to assumptions about the male and female characteristics such as gender stereotypes. This chapter explores the various stereotypical barriers experienced by women in leadership positions in higher education. The aim of the chapter is to highlight these barriers and how it has impacted women in her growth. An attempt has been made to explore these stereotypical barriers experienced by women leaders in higher education such as occupational sexism, exclusion of informal networks, tokenism, lack of mentoring, abuse at the workplace, and wage inequality. Despite these stereotypical barriers some countries primarily in the European Union have been leading with some positive examples such as Sweden with 43% of women as Vice Chancellors of universities. Another positive example is that the first authorship of women authors in medical journals has increase from 27% to 37% in two decades precisely from 1994 to 2014.

Name Index

Pages 123-128
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Subject Index

Pages 129-135
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Cover of Role of Leaders in Managing Higher Education
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Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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