Leadership and Followership in Post-1992 University Business Schools in England

Leadership and Followership in Post-1992 University Business Schools in England

Thomas Charles Bisschoff, Michael Lewis Nieto
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0672-0.ch018
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The research reflects on how academics interact as leaders and followers in Post-1992 University Business Schools. The study was cognisant of the tensions experienced by knowledge workers, such as academics, whereby a person may have leadership responsibilities, whilst working within as a collegiate environment. The research explores leadership through qualitative methodology and constructivist discourse within three cases studies. The selection of case studies included two business schools which had experienced numerous restructures and one where the management team was more stable. The key outcomes of the research indicate that the respondents are dissatisfied by their leaders and reported an absence of consultation as well as almost yearly disruptive restructuring. Consequently, the research reported minimal followership or distributed leadership. Instead, disengagement was reported by academics in both management and non-management posts. In two of the business schools, successive sets of new externally hired management teams had imposed reorganisations and redundancies. Consequently, academics expressed disengagement and reported systemic failures to develop and promote internal candidates to senior management and departmental leadership posts.
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Historical Background Of Post 1992 Universities

The post 1992 universities came into being as a result of a government policy to expand higher education. Accordingly, the Further and Higher Education Act of 1992 almost doubled the number of universities to eighty-four. The Education Reform Act of 1988 abolished the University Grants Committee (UGC). According to Anderson in Withers (2009) the changes introduced by both the 1988 Act and the White Paper of 1986, encouraged more managerial control into the newly formed universities.

In 2015, the post 1992 universities are part of a diverse range of institutions engaged in higher education provision; a list of the post 1992 universities is provided in appendix 1. By way of contextualising the growth of university providers, in the nineteenth century England had just two universities, until the creation of the university of London, in 1886. The next set of universities to be formed was referred to as the Red brick universities because of their city locations. The red brick universities came into being during the 1900s, the first of which was the University of Birmingham. It then took several more decades before the next group, which were referred to as the plate glass universities, were established in the 1960s (Robbins Report 1963). The post 1992 universities arrived in the 1990s followed by another smaller group of new universities in the early 2000s (Marginson, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blended Leadership: “The conceptual framework for blended leadership is premised on the notion of administrative management operating in the professional space, intellectual leadership operating in the academic space and an agreed mix of both these approaches operating within the overlap (third space). This conceptual framework for blended leadership builds on the research outcomes of recent empirical research into a distributed leadership” Jones, et al. (2014 p 419).

Constructivism: No single predominant objective reality of leader or follower within a business school.

Transformational Leadership Theory: resonances with notions of heroic leadership, which emphasises the personal characteristics of the individual leader to address situations.

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