South African Journal of Higher Education

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Academic leadership under siege: possibilities and limits of executive deanship

B Johnson, M Cross


We argue in this article that translation of executive deanship into managerialism, a practice which is currently being uncritically embraced in many South African higher education institutions, is doomed to failure. It may prove disastrous to much-needed institutional rejuvenation. We contend that, given the legacy of bureaucratic or autocratic management styles under apartheid, what is needed is stronger academic and intellectual leadership. Such leadership would concentrate on changing relationships, promoting new forms of academic and scholarly socialization, and building 'enabling' institutional identities and environments. Solutions in this line should draw on the strengths of the rich intellectual legacies of individual institutional histories and cultures, where collegial practices have gained momentum. Corporate restructuring with a mere fiscal and performativity tool-box will not do the job.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol.18(2) 2004: 34-58
AJOL African Journals Online