Exploring the nature of leadership development of middle level professional leaders in New Zealand polytechnics

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Authors
Ali, Shirleen Aziza
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Degree
Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Grantor
Unitec Institute of Technology
Date
2016
Supervisors
Cardno, Carol
Bassett, Martin
Type
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
polytechnics
New Zealand
middle level leaders
non-academic middle leaders
educational leadership
Citation
Ali, S. A. (2016). Exploring the nature of leadership development of middle level professional leaders in New Zealand polytechnics. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Abstract
Despite the global popularity of leadership development there is an absence of literature on leadership development of middle level professional leaders in New Zealand polytechnics. This is in spite of research that suggests that the quality of leaders and leadership are crucial to producing enhanced learning outcomes for students. While most studies on leadership development in higher education have been focussed on academic leadership, literature available on leadership development of middle level professional leaders in higher education has tended to focus on middle management within the business, management and human resource literature. Hence, there is a gap in the literature regarding these non-academic middle leaders. A qualitative approach was adopted within a constructivist paradigm to explore the concept of leadership development, investigate institutional commitments and examine leadership development practices and experiences of middle level professional leaders in New Zealand polytechnics. Semi-structured interviews created the opportunity to hear the experiences and perceptions of six middle level professional leaders and three human resource managers on leadership development within the New Zealand polytechnics they work in. The findings revealed that the role of middle level professional leaders can be split into two categories: responsibilities related to people and responsibilities related to expertise. The findings also indicate that there is confusion in the use of the terms leader development and leadership development. The findings highlighted that there is a disparity between what middle level professional leaders want in terms of leadership development and what the institution offers. In addition, leadership development is not planned and is self-driven and highlights the importance of effective performance appraisals and professional development planning. A conclusion of the study relates to the importance of nurturing aspiring and emergent leaders within the institution. It is apparent that existing leadership development opportunities provided are inadequate, underfunded and are not preparing these middle level professional leaders with the skills and knowledge they need. An implication for practice is the need for a leadership development programme that is tailor-made and supportive of middle level professional leaders in New Zealand polytechnics.
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