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Australian university leaders: Agents of the McUniversity, entrepreneurial transformers, or bureaucrats?

de Zilwa, D. (2007) Australian university leaders: Agents of the McUniversity, entrepreneurial transformers, or bureaucrats? In: Williams, L.J. and Lee, E.N., (eds.) Australia: Economics, Political and Social Issues. Nova Science Publishers, pp. 1-24.

Abstract

Some sociologists and higher education scholars view theory and empiricism as separate worlds, arguing that one has nothing to offer the other. This work proposes that the boundaries between theoretical conceptions and empirical realities have a transilient fluidity, that one domain informs the other. Hence this study explores connections between three theoretical conceptions of the university, Weber's bureaucracy, Ritzer's McUniversity and Clark's Entrepreneurial University and the leadership style of executives in Australian public universities. Information about executives' leadership style was gathered from case study interviews with seventeen executives from four Australian public universities. This work found that at each of the case study universities leaders' views of their university comprised elements of these three conceptions of the university, none of the three conceptions of the university were actualized in a 'pure' form. This work also identifies four different leadership styles used by these executives: entrepreneurial transformers, facilitators, bureaucrats and collegial leaders. It finds some connections between leaders' theoretical conceptions of the university and how they led their universities. However, the connections between theory and empiricism were complex, reflexive ones rather than unidirectional causes and effects.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Nova Science Publishers
Copyright: © 2007 Nova Science Publishers,
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/31900
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