Understanding of Leadership in Distance Education Management

Understanding of Leadership in Distance Education Management

Gülay Ekren (Sinop University, Turkey), Serçin Karataş (Gazi University, Turkey) and Uğur Demiray (Anadolu University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1624-8.ch003


Today, distance education institutions are different from other traditional organizational structures because they require a virtual structuring. Therefore, the concept and practice of educational leadership is considered as a special area in distance education management process. As a requirement of 21st century, distance education leadership has been seen as a matter or necessity to be developed and to be investigated in the management of distance education. In this chapter, it is aimed to bring the insights of various researchers to define characteristics or qualifications of leadership in distance education, which are or should be different from traditional educational leadership through a literature review relevant to leadership and theories in leadership, educational leadership, and distance education leadership.
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Although leadership is seen as one of the important reasons for success or failure in organizations, it is clearly understood that success cannot be limited to leader’s behavior or performance (Halpin, 1956; Bass & Avolio, 1995). Leadership is not only seen as activities of guidance for a group of people or an organization, but also should be characteristics such as developing vision, networking people in order to bring together around a vision, planning and organizing (Enck, 2002). Leaders cannot limited to only these expectations. People are expecting of many characteristics from a leader such as being the initiator (Çelik, 2007), charismatic (Collin & Porras, 1994), gifted (Maccoby, 2000), motivator (Gibb, 1967; Pahal, 1999), visionary (Covey, 1990), problem solver (Mackenzie, 1949), meeting the requirements (Erdoğan, 1991) and etc. These expectations put the pressure on the leaders and sometimes it can be as cruel as not giving the opportunity to breathe (Cunningham, 1976).

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