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Trust in the informal leadership of UK Higher Education in an era of global uncertainty

Trust in the informal leadership of UK Higher Education in an era of global uncertainty

Jameson, Jill ORCID: 0000-0002-9545-8078 (2022) Trust in the informal leadership of UK Higher Education in an era of global uncertainty. In: Gibbs, Paul and Maassen, Peter, (eds.) Trusting in Higher Education: A multifaceted discussion of trust in and for higher education in Norway and the United Kingdom. Higher Education Dynamics, 1 (57). Springer Nature Switzerland AG, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 51-67. ISBN 978-3030870362 (doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-87037-9_4)

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Abstract

Over the past few decades, there has been a massive increase in the influence of the forces of marketisation, globalisation, government policy intervention, new public management-led corporate governance, and systematic ranking in UK higher education, in response to worldwide competition for more status and students. In that UK context, this chapter reflects on prior literature as well as evidence collected in long-term research surveys (n=130), a focus group (n=6) and interviews (n=24) on trust and leadership in post-compulsory and higher education during 2010-18 (Jameson, 2012, 2018). Successive findings indicate that, paradoxically, ‘less is sometimes more’ regarding leadership and management visibility, in identifying the trust-building adaptive capability of the ‘invisible’ informal leadership practised by academic staff. From a combination of deductive and inductive evidence, the chapter suggests some ways in which the potential of collective academic leadership might be more understood and valued, to enable higher levels of trust in higher education institutions. In the UK, a growing local emphasis on managerial ‘command and control’ solutions has been imposed on staff by university managers in a performative drive to try to ‘be amongst the best’ at all cost. A lack of diversity in provision has resulted, linked to the impetus for all institutions to charge high student fees in a market-based environment. The uncertainties unleashed in this maelstrom of institutional tensions have widened gaps between senior leaders and their more collegially-focused academic staff. In the process, trust in the senior leadership of UK higher education institutions has been diminished. The characteristics of trust-building, including competence, benevolence, integrity, and reliability, are needed more than ever. Addressing a significant gap in the literature on informal leadership in higher education, the chapter argues that greater recognition of the power of informal distributed academic leadership can assist in this.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: conceptualizing trust; trust in higher education policy; policy-making in higher education; issues of internal trust; accountability in higher education; leadership in higher education; distrust of students as learners; self-trust and self-deception
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Professional Workforce Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Education (EDU)
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2022 08:59
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/35850

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