Title: Collective capacity building of academic leaders: a university model of leadership and learning in context

Authors: Shelda Debowski, Vivienne Blake

Addresses: Organisational and Staff Development Services, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia. ' Organisational and Staff Development Services, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia

Abstract: Academic leaders face particular challenges when they assume formal leadership roles in higher education. For the most part, they have had little prior engagement with the political, economic and strategic context of their institution and limited leadership networks on which to draw. The University of Western Australia has trialled a number of strategies to build its collective leadership capacity. These include immersion programmes, communities of practice, coaching, residential programmes and tailored consultancy support. The gradual accretion of various components into an integrated model of collective capacity building is explored from the context of complex adaptive systems theory. It demonstrates the importance of encouraging reflective and adaptive leaders who are willing to share their knowledge and wisdom across the university community. The case study demonstrates the importance of recognising and integrating collective learning into ongoing systems and strategies in a flexible manner.

Keywords: capacity building; higher education development; leadership development; organisational change; organisational development; academic leaders; collective learning; collective leadership; universities; Australia.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLC.2007.017116

International Journal of Learning and Change, 2007 Vol.2 No.3, pp.307 - 324

Published online: 13 Feb 2008 *

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