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The Impact of Externally-Driven Change on Middle Leadership in a Malaysian Higher Education Institution

Maniam, Uma Malar M (2018) The Impact of Externally-Driven Change on Middle Leadership in a Malaysian Higher Education Institution. EdD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The focus of the thesis is the impact of externally-driven change on the role of academic heads of departments (middle leaders) in a Malaysian higher education institution. The investigation is timely because of the Malaysian government’s recent reform of the Malaysian Education Blueprint for Higher Education (MEB HE) to improve standards and enhance competiveness in the wake of the pressures of global competition by 2025. Moreover, while middle leadership has received considerable attention in Western countries, it has been less well researched in the Far East, including Malaysia. The research is qualitative Malaysian university case study, drawing on the perceptions of ten heads of departments across a wide range of academic disciplines, regarding: (a) the impact of changes to their leadership role on their professional working lives; and (b) their experiences of leadership learning, both formal and informal, through the change process. Their lived experiences were captured through in-depth interviews and their descriptions of critical incidents (professional turning points) in their career trajectories. Relational Leadership Theory (RLT) provided a framework for understanding the change process through working with significant others, including superiors, subordinates and peers. Key findings indicate evidence of positive experiences characterised by ingenuity and resilience in the way the heads of departments adapted to their new roles. They also reveal evidence of difficulty and frustration arising from a need for more systematic recruitment strategies, better support mechanisms and preparedness of staff in taking on new middle management responsibilities. While the findings from a single study cannot be generalised in a conventional sense, they have the potential to resonate with readers working in similar contexts through naturalistic generalisation. They also provide fresh insights into an understanding leadership role change and leadership learning in a non-Western higher education context.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: middle leadership, relational leadership, heads od departments
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.778666
Depositing User: Ms Uma Malar M Maniam
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2019 09:05
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24347

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