Academic leadership and work-related attitude
Abu Hassan Asaari, Muhammad Hasmi
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2012 Muhammad Hasmi Abu Hassan Asaari. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
At a global level, changes in the higher education environment - such as changing funding mechanisms, regulations and audit processes, increasing customer demands, competition and internationalization, and ongoing reduction in state resources for funding Higher Education has resulted in increased interest by academics and practitioners on leadership in the higher education sector. Recent studies have noted that there has been very limited research conducted on the question of which forms of academic leadership are associated with individual academic performance. Globalisation of higher education environment can bring many benefits to higher education organisations, but it can also expose them to a number of risks and challenges. The purpose of this study was to explore how leaders in the higher education sector are using their leadership abilities and skills to bring about enhanced academic performance from their academic colleagues and subordinates’. Therefore, in this research aims to identify which specific aspects of academic leadership skill-set have the maximum impact on academics’ performance. This research used six measures; namely visionary, adaptable to change, competency, effective leadership, transformational style and charisma, for quantifying academic leadership. Individual academic performance was measured by the construct titled work-related attitude (i.e. work-related attitude was considered to be a proxy for individual academic performance). Work-related attitude was quantified by three measures; namely job satisfaction, career satisfaction and organizational commitment. Both academic leadership landscape and academics’ work-related attitude were modelled as latent constructs.
Based on data from fifteen interviews and a survey of faculty members of 261 academic staff from twenty Malaysian public universities, factor analyses was used to explore four groups of academic leadership constructs; namely innovative, effective, executive and adaptive. Similarly, factor analyses were used to establish four groups of work-related attitude constructs; namely organizational commitment, career satisfaction, job satisfaction and job skills. Regression analyses suggest that academic leadership was positively associated with work-related attitude. Further, multiple regression analyses suggests executive and innovative academic leadership behavioural traits were positively associated with organizational commitment, career satisfaction, job satisfaction and job skills of work-related attitude. Unfortunately, behavioural traits titled “effective” and "adaptive" had no association with any work-related attitude (i.e. academic performance).
The implications of the results for theory and practice are significant. This research provides empirical evidence for the development of a theoretical model for academic leadership grounded in self-leadership theory. Further, this study also proposes a general definition of academic leadership according to faculty members’ perspectives and a diagnostic instrument for measurement of academic leadership and work-related attitude. The study gives a new perspective on factors that contribute toward academic leadership and work-related attitude. This study revealed which contributing factors of academic leadership and work-related attitude have significant impact on professional leadership in academia. Empirically, the study reveals the underpinning factors that influence the faculty members in understanding and exploring academic leadership and work-related attitudes. This study can assist faculty members of public universities in Malaysia in dealing with the challenges and demands in academia. University administrators (especially the vice chancellors), may urge their human resources departments to encourage their faculty members toward demonstrating executive and innovative behavioural traits in pursuing their academic life. Finally, this study contributes towards testing a model, instrument and research process that is based in the US in an Asian country – Malaysia. Moreover, the proposed model has the potential to be replicated in other countries.
The main originality and value of this study is that it has addressed a research gap concerning academic leadership approaches to assessing and enhancing individual academic performance in a global context. The paper has identified which forms of academic leadership are associated with enhanced individual academic performance. In this context, this study proposes a new categorisation for measuring which specific aspects of academic leadership skill-set have the maximum impact on academics’ performance, and offers a characterisation of academic leadership skill-set on academics’ performance.
- Business School, The University of Hull
- Dwivedi, Ashish N.; Lawton, Alan
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