Community college academic deans: leadership frames and stress

Date
2000-01-01
Authors
Russell, Christopher
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Larry H. Ebbers
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Altmetrics
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Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract

The academic dean is a middle manager leader with multiple roles in community and technical colleges. This dean has the dual responsibility of guiding the direction of the academic program for faculty at the college and handling the daily tasks of administration;The deans' control over their roles was examined through their ability to influence situations with different leadership styles. Balancing the roles and daily contacts with students, staff, faculty and other administrators creates stress if the demands of the job are beyond the personal control of the dean. Executive stress costs educational organizations time and money. Through extensive study of leadership and organizations, Bolman and Deal (1984) found that the use of four leadership orientations (structural, human relations, political and symbolic) can give leaders increased control over tasks and events;The primary purpose of the study was to examine how personal and leadership orientation variables of community college academic deans (multiple frames used, highest frame used, self-preferred frame, and recognition of frame) influenced the self-reported measures of work-related stress and satisfaction of the deans. The compile data came from a survey of 324 deans;The most prevalent leadership frame among the deans was the human relations orientation. Deans with multiple leadership orientations reported lower stress, higher satisfaction and lower role-conflict compared to those deans who used one primary leadership orientation. Self-reported role-conflict and satisfaction scores for the deans were found to be the strongest predictors of stress. The use of multiple orientations, the number of faculty and support staff at the college, and the marital status of the deans were also related to lower dean stress;An implication of the study is that as academic deans in community colleges perform multiple tasks and roles, the use of more than one leadership frame may temper stress and enhance dean satisfaction.

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