Ad astra per aspera: A case study of adaptive leadership in an institution of higher education
AdvisorPatterson, Jean A.
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Organizations often face complex challenges that threaten their ability to realize their missions and achieve their stated goals and outcomes. Leadership is necessary to make progress toward addressing these challenges. Many organizations operate under traditional, top-down, authoritative leadership models developed during the industrial era. However, these models are no longer sufficient for dealing with the complexities of modern organizational problems. New approaches to leadership are needed. Adaptive leadership is a contemporary model that some organizations are using to drive organizational change and address their most pressing problems, but shifting to a model like adaptive leadership is a difficult change process that requires organizational learning. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the leadership experiences of members of an institution of higher education that had adopted the adaptive leadership model. Through individual interviews with 14 faculty, staff, and administrators, this study provides insight into the challenges and successes of implementing the adaptive leadership model in an institution of higher education. Argyris’s theories of action provided the theoretical framework for understanding the individual learning processes necessary for participants who had been trained in adaptive leadership to be able to translate their training into effective practice. The study’s findings and conclusions illuminate the individual and organizational dynamics that influenced adaptive leadership learning and practice, and includes implications for research, policy, and practice for scholars and practitioners seeking new approaches to organizational leadership.
Thesis (Ed.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Educational and School Psychology