University leadership in turbulent times: An exploration of "urban and edgy" institutions.

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Burke, ME ; Morris, GJ ; Tattersall, A
  • Publisher: University of Salford
  • Subject: built_and_human_env | media_dig_tech_and_creative_econ | mem_text_and_place

The last two years have seen remarkable changes in the global higher education sector and particularly in the UK. The legal, political and social frameworks in which we work are changing and questions must arise about what kinds of leadership models will be appropriate in this new environment. This work reports on the experiences of higher education leaders who operate in organizations that can be characterized as urban and edgy. Urban and edgy are term used to describe those institutions that are messy, diverse and who choose not operate according to classic corporate strategies.\ud \ud In addition to policy change, there is a broader context underpinning the rationale for the research. As changes in higher education institutions have become more frequent and challenging, questions have arisen about the nature of leadership in higher education institutions: no matter how leadership is looked at, there is no universal panacea for all types of institutions. The focus for this project was to consider the universities that did not fit the model of the standard corporate organisation and to look instead at those organisations which were diverse, did not unify strategy (deliberately), open and loose (yet successful), willing to take risks, and difficult to classify as a particular type of organisation. The characteristics of these organisations seemed to fit the description of being both Urban – in every meaning of the word – and Edgy in terms of different, new, on the edge, and at the cutting edge. From this initial idea, a pilot was undertaken which was concerned with defining “urban and edgy” organisations (Burke, 2008). The results showed that there was an engagement with the term Urban and Edgy and leadership traits associated with these kinds of organisations.
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