EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP STYLES IN HIGHER EDUCATION: EXPLORATORY STUDY
Universidad a Distancia de Madrid (UDIMA) (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Leadership plays a key role in the success of organization and has become an important differentiation drive. Effective leaders succeed in transforming organizations, in influencing their followers behaviors and introducing changes. Recent studies have highlighted the impact of leadership on organizational performance, underlining that some styles give better results than others depending on the type of organization. In the context of higher education, there has been a growing research development on leadership in recent years since higher education institutions need to be prepared to meet needs and challenges of the current complex global environment. Several shifts have occurred within the higher education in recent decades due particularly to the globalisation, digital transformation and development of Information technology that require new competences and styles of leadership to face global challenges. Higher education institutions require to enhance not only their governance, operations, relationship with stakeholders (students, parents, State, etc.) but also their leadership which is essential for their success and survival. One of the most classical approaches associated to higher education institutions are the authority, power and structure. Leadership studies in higher education institutions have to examine how effective leaders hold their organizations, and also to find approaches which fit best in the higher education context for its better management, transformation and improvement. From empirical point of view, some studies have determined the importance of the transformational leadership in the context of higher education over the charismatic and transactional leadership styles. In this sense, the main objective of this study is to analyze leadership styles with their relation to positive results in terms of satisfaction with leader, effectiveness of leader, team member effort, and the perceived impact of the leader in work performance and organizational development. Positive affection and organizational commitment have been considered as mediators of the relationships between leadership styles and positive outcomes. Therefore, it was hypothesized that the transformational leadership will be the main style adopted in higher education sector. A sample of 420 participants from higher education sector has been determined in order to achieve the objectives of this study. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) was administered and Correlations and multiple regression analysis have been used as the main data analysis techniques. The results show that the transformational style is predominant in higher education sector. Academics and administrators are adopting and adapting their leadership styles that respond to the new organizational, social and cultural challenges and realities of today's society. These results fulfill the assumptions of the importance of a transformational leadership style in the context of the higher education sector. Transformational and transactional leadership styles are confirmed as predictors of variables related to satisfaction, effectiveness, effort, team performance and organizational development. The transformational leadership style tends to improve the degree of satisfaction with the leader, the effort, the perceived work performance, the organizational commitment and the effort in the task. Some practical implications and future lines of research have been proposed.
Keywords: Leadership, transformational leader, transactional leader, higher education.