Understanding leadership in higher education as a tool for change in relation to gender
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Leadership in Irish higher education remains something of a monoculture. This extends not just to age, gender and ethnicity but to discipline. In an attempt to identify, nurture, motivate and empower new leaders of all genders, a first step is to understand the dynamics of leadership. The central message of this chapter is that leadership is a relationship and not an individual. As such, an understanding of leadership is incomplete without an awareness of the role and nature of followers. Individuals of different genders, backgrounds and ethnicities, with different skills and expertise from different organisational levels, produce a widening of organisational resourcefulness. This chapter begins with a review of leadership theory and implementation theory with a focus on public sector blockages between policymakers and the agents of change, acknowledging that leadership in the public and private sectors takes different approaches to adaptability, responsiveness and risk. The public sector focus on implementation and management has too often been code for control and measurement. This chapter demonstrates the applicability of these theoretical positions for the university sector and the place of gender and leadership within the sector.
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