Administrators' professional development in a higher education organisation

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Richardson, Laurie
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Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Panko, Mary
Fitzgerald, Tanya
Masters Dissertation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
higher education
professional development
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Richardson, L. (2008). Administrators' professional development in a higher education organisation. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
This thesis investigates administrators’ engagement in professional development in a higher education organisation where academia is the organisation’s raison d’être. Using literature from management and non-academic higher education administration, I frame the study on three fronts: administrators; professional development; and higher education organisations. I discuss administrators and professional development. I also discuss how all staff contribute to the achievement of organisational goals. All staff, in higher education, includes those directly involved in academia and those involved indirectly (Szekeres, 2006). This research establishes that administrators define professional development as both training and education. However, their actual professional development engagement is work-related training courses. Reasons as to why administrators engage in training courses rather than training and education seem to be their perception of low levels of organisational support. Authors such as Rudman (2002), Woodall and Winstanley (1998), and Argyris and Schön (1996) argue that engaging all staff in meaningful professional development enables all staff to contribute to achieving organisational goals. This research shows that administrators may not be engaging in meaningful professional development. Accordingly, they may not be contributing to organisational goals. I therefore argue that a dichotomy may exist between the activities of administrators in a higher education organisation and organisational goals. Case study methods of enquiry, and qualitative methodologies were employed to study administrators’ perceptions of professional development in one higher education organisation. The research employed data gathering tools such as focus group discussions and a questionnaire to gather data from one group of administrators within the organisation.
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