Leading change at the middle: Stories of higher education middle leaders ‘success’
Citation:Marshall, S. (2008). Leading change at the middle: Stories of higher education middle leaders ‘success’. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1304
This project aimed to identify and explain the contextual factors associated with successful middle change leadership as a way of determining the value that such initiatives have to enable change to take place in a less confrontational and abstracted manner and whether such evidence could be leveraged to assist in improved and sustained success in similar settings. To achieve this the study explored the role of the educational middle manager as ‘change leader’ in successful organisational change and the role of the middle leaders relationships with their superiors, peers and subordinates. It has also examined the core capabilities and attributes of associated with creating an organisational climate conducive to successful change and those policies and practices employed to minimise the potential negative impact of change. The research employed two qualitative techniques. The first was a Delphi-style panel of middle leaders to identify and rank the sets of ‘attributes’ they perceived to be most associated with ‘successful’ change leadership. The second employed a success case method of semi-structured interview to explore in depth the core capabilities employed by ‘successful’ middle leaders in organisational change. The findings suggest inter-personal and intra-personal communications essential to leading and managing change which are seen as complementary change leadership activities. By developing strong operational and relational skills with particular focus on the ability to listen, observe, identify, and report; to form relationships and inspire trust; and to manifest a high degree of behavioural flexibility, middle leaders are better able to minimise the potential negative impact of change.