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Leadership, Institutional Innovation and Development


UGANDA, 2011

PART 1 4

PART 2 10
1 PART 3

PART 4 30

PART 5 45


This module covers the subject of leadership in universities viewed as a critical lever in moving
the institutions forward to their desired destinations. It must be noted that universities operate in
volatile environments today and, therefore, the ability of an institution to change and adapt is
critical for its survival. Those that fail to change and adapt are bound to lose while those who do
so are bound to occupy their high ground tomorrow. Thus, the issues of leadership have to be
dealt with in the context of institutional planning and management at operational, tactical and
strategic levels. The three levels must be attended to well to provide the framework for the
identification of the role of the top management in universities.

In Part 1 of this module, we examine the challenges that affect universities in transformation. In
Part 2 of the module, we discuss the role of strategic thinking and planning as well as leadership
in a university. We will see how strategic planning can help to determine a university’s future. In
this first section, we will see what is meant by strategic planning, and in the second part, we will
show how a vice-chancellor, and the senior management team, can start to develop a strategic
plan for their university. In Part 3 we will begin by considering, what is leadership; leaders and
vision; power and leadership; leaders and managing. Next, we will turn to examine the notion of
two current forms, or models, of leadership: ‘transformational leadership’ and ‘servant
leadership’, as well as ways in which to cultivate ‘followers’.

The purpose of Part 4 of the module is to provide a broad overview of the concept of “change
management.” This part provides, an understanding of ways in which universities can change
themselves for the better.

The fifth, and final, part of this module on leadership, institutional innovation and development,
provides guidelines for recognizing good and bad universities. Any senior management team, into
building an empowered and self-reliant and committed group of staff, must seek ways to improve
the way services are delivered, especially with regard to staff members. In this final part of the
module, we will explore ways to create humane, caring and supportive organizational structure
that can maintain the commitment of staff, challenge them, and enable them to fulfill their role in
the university as effectively as possible.



By the end of the module, the module, you will be able to:
 Discuss the challenges and trends in university management
 Make a distinction between Management and Leadership of universities
 Define and describe the role of organizational cultures in the managing change in
 Explain the role of good and effective communication in building winning teams in
 List the challenges and problems of managing university-community partnerships
 Describe the attributes or qualities of a university of the 21 st century.

Specific Objectives
By the end of Part 1, you will be able to:
 Discussing the failures and successes at reforming a university,
 Analyze the critical role of a transformational leader in
focusing the university to the future.

The last 20 years have been difficult for many African universities, especially those in the public
sector. We have seen too many reforms leading to too few results, too much rhetoric, and not
enough wise leaders.

Over the last 20 years, new forces such as globalization, information technologies, and innovation
have transformed the way we think about higher education, the role of universities, and the work
done by those responsible for the management of such institutions. Both developed and
developing countries have undertaken wide-ranging reforms in the higher education sector. Some
have been remarkably successful; others not. We have seen progress on many fronts in different
parts of the world, and we have also made enough mistakes that it should now be possible to look
back and assess the lessons learned, as we turn our attention to the challenges ahead.

Some resounding reform successes are worth noting:

 The construction of new universities and expansion of older ones is one of the greatest
achievements of our time in building a higher education system based on progressive
education principles, social transformation and the belief that knowledge-based societies
are the way of the future.
 The transition from an elitist view of higher education to a more egalitarian and open
understanding has given hope to many who seek a university education; and the increased
number of university graduates on the continent is testimony to that.
 The successful transition, in many countries, from having only exclusively state-run
universities to situations in which the private sector is encouraged to invest in university

We have also seen the consequences of the failure to provide for good governance and
management in universities. Many are still lacking:
 Internal forums to arbitrate conflicting views and to bring about peaceful resolutions of
 Democratic accountability and transparency in the exercise of power and the use of
university funds,
• Informed political oversight of public sector institutions;
• Policy making and policy enforcement capacities.

Serious mistakes were also made in terms of the way governments managed state-run
universities. For a time, it seemed that in some parts of the world, governments lost sight of the
importance of the role of the State in funding higher education as many decided to put their faith
in the market’s unlimited ability to resolve problems and, hence, asked state-run universities to
find their own funds.

As a consequence, a high price was paid in many countries. It damaged the sense of pride of the
men and women who had dedicated their life to university teaching and convinced a number of
young people that without private means they would be forever deprived of a university

Despite the diversity of experiences in the context of the rapid and deep societal changes of the
last 20 years, universities are facing many common challenges. We must all explore how the
university sector can work best and bring value-added to society in the future.

It has become customary to talk of:

• The transformation brought about by the forces of globalization,

• The impact of information and communication technologies and
• The emergence of knowledge-based societies and economies.

In order to understand the challenges of leading African universities in the 21 st century, we should
first ask ourselves for What will be the role of the State in the development of university
education? How can we unleash the potential of the universities to be all they can become?;
and How can universities keep up with a situation in which it is estimated that empirical
knowledge is doubling every five years?

We will frame this overview by discussing three challenges:

1) Finding the right balance between the market and the State in a global context,
2) The need for transformational leadership within the university sector, and
3) The need to take on board new knowledge and innovation imperatives.

1) A Search For Balance

The role of the State, especially in relation to universities, began to be redefined during the last
years of the 20th century. The two pre-eminent signs of this were: (i) the huge influx of private
students into public universities; and (ii) the granting of permission to private institutions of
higher learning to begin offering full degree programmes. The chief reasons for this shift was the
growing inability of African governments to continue large-scale funding of university education;
and the sharp rise in the demand for places in university.

Although it is recognized that the State still has a pre-eminent role in university education and
university development, it became increasingly clear that African governments’ capacity to be the
prime provider of university education was limited. Since the turn of the 21 st century, it has
become more commonplace to hear, amongst politicians and university administrators, the case
for arguing that the State should adopt the role of a partner, catalyst and facilitator of university

Such a case rests on the premise that the market is the most efficient way to allocate scarce
resources and to ensure the pursuit of individual interests. For a well-performing economy and
society to flourish, it is not about the dominance of the public sector over the private sector, (or

vice versa); but rather, it is about a search for balance. Both are fallible, both have inherent
weaknesses, but by working together, they compensate for each other and achieve the best results.
That’s the theory.

In practice, these developments have impacted upon universities in several striking ways. The
first is the way in which universities are funded. Instead of expecting governments to providing
the lion’s share of cash needed to run a public-sector university, VCs - and their teams - are now
expected to look for ways of raising cash through a myriad of different means. Entrepreneurial
flair is now a quality much sought after when selecting a VC.

The second impact on university education has the transformation of the student body into clients
and customers. This shift has altered the nature of the relationship between staff and students, as
well as determining the selection of courses that a university offers. A crucial factor has become
whether, or not, a course is ‘demand-driven’. The old adage that ‘education is an end in itself’
does not cut much muster with those who want to know if a course, or programme, is attracting
sufficient students to make it economically worthwhile. It seems that the VC of the modern
university needs not only entrepreneurial flair, in terms of being able to raise money, but also able
to have a keen eye for what will sell, or not sell, in the market place.

Such developments, as we have said, have radically altered the profile of the kind of VC that
university councils, and the like, want to recruit to lead their institutions. Instead of seeking out
people, primarily renowned for their academic achievements and long years of service, candidates
are being sought who can function as CEOs, successfully lead a management team, read a
spreadsheet, and have above average marketing skills.

2) Transformational Leadership
From the streets of Damascus to the board rooms of London banks, there is a rallying call for a
more accountable and transparent brand of leadership. People are demanding and deserve high
quality service exempt from patronage or influence peddling. They expect access to information,
and they expect services to be organized and delivered in accordance with their needs and
circumstances, not at the convenience of those in power. They demand to be treated with respect
by institutions and expect those in authority to be true to their mission of being the “servant” of
the collective interest and the “keeper of a public trust”.

Universities are not immune to these calls for accountability and transparency. While the older
‘public service’ model governing the way state-run universities operate and the ‘industrial
management’ style of many private-run ones, still continue to hold sway in many places, neither
should blind us to the fact that university heads must make a firm commitment to leaving to
future generations better institutions than the ones we inherited. The call is now for university
leaders who exhibit not only exceptional planning and communication skills, but who are
“transformational” and who can make those around them believe in the impossible. Such leader
gains influence by demonstrating the importance of personal characteristics like self-confidence,
dominance and strong conviction in the moral righteousness’ of ones belief.

The importance of having a leader who is ‘transformational’ is a crucial factor in attracting, and
retaining, talented and gifted staff. The competition for talent has become increasingly fierce
among universities and between the private and public sectors. The best staff will come to a
university if they are given the chance to make a difference, and the opportunity to use their skills
and reach their full potential. A university whose role is limited to repetitive and predictable tasks
will attract a different kind of workforce.

3) The Knowledge and Innovation Imperatives
The last challenge we will mention pertains to the “knowledge and innovation imperatives” that
are in so many ways characteristic of the era we live in. The bureaucratic organizational model
characterized the organization of universities for most of the last century. It was built around
clearly defined and predictable tasks. Similar tasks were grouped into units, units into
departments, and departments into faculties. The organization relied on a strict division of labour
with a clear ladder of ascendancy for those wishing to go to the top. The authority was delegated
top down.

A profound transformation took shape in many institutions during the 70's, 80's and 90's as the
knowledge-based economy started to take shape. Instead of a ‘top-down’ model, people began
reinventing organizations into a series of concentric circles that overlap. The guiding principle
underlying such a transformation was the Principle of subsidiarity. Essentially, it stated that the
role of the leader was to help those he, or she, was immediately responsible for, (ie. department
heads), was to help them to do their job well. The job of department heads was, in turn, to help
their team members of do their job well. This development literally turned the older pyramidal
understanding of organizations upside down and gave rise to the notion of the ‘servant leader’.

One of the chief factors in such a paradigm shift was the rapid growth in new knowledge and the
demand for innovation that came in its wake. When the assets of an organization are intellectual,
the old management model simply cannot cope with necessary changes and, to use the name of
Chinua Achebe’s most famous novel, ‘things fall apart’. The alternative is to opt for becoming,
what Peter Senge calls, “learning organisations”. In his view, learning organizations are
dynamical systems in a state of continuous adaptation and improvement. (See his book, The Fifth
Discipline, 1999).

It must be said that unlike other areas of life, the university sector has been slower to adapt, but it
must, in order to provide value-added education, remain relevant to people’s needs, and continue
to be a seedbed for new knowledge and ideas. This transformation will be critical to the ability of
the universities to attract and retain its fair share of the best talent in the future.

One sign of the impact of the knowledge explosion upon universities is the way the notion of a
university lecturer is changing and the increasingly use of part-time staff members who are
involved in independent consulting and work outside of the university. Such a development
requires new ways of thinking in universities, as there is a need to implement a “team” approach,
supported by horizontal management, in order to effectively respond to the broad range of staff in
a cohesive and coherent manner. The idea of a university relying almost exclusively on a cadre of
full-time staff, whose aim it is to stay in one institution until they reach retiring age, does not hold
sway anymore.

The structures of authority are changing. The power of the office must now co-exist with the
power of ideas, the power to innovate, and the power to discover new and better ways to fulfil the
mission. The creation of ‘schools’ within large universities would be an example of this
development, as would be the election, by staff members, of university departments, of their own
heads instead of the traditional way of simply appointing a head.

Training for a job, as it was done in the past, only works when the content of the work is
predictable and repetitive. Learning, on the other hand, is central to the ability of an organization
to innovate, and will be key to the future of universities. At the practical level, this means
preparing highly competent and qualified staff to be – not only successful teachers and

researchers – but to have the added characteristics of being learners, innovators and

It remains an open question whether, and to what extent, universities will be able to adapt to the
“knowledge imperative” and to encourage innovation. It is a complex undertaking and some will
choose to err on the side of caution. Innovation that fails can damage an institutions’ reputation
or affect its long-term plans. The current management systems of many universities in Africa do
not encourage innovation, favouring instead predictability in a given range of activities. That said,
failure to transform bureaucratic institutions into “intelligent” and “learning organizations”, able
to explore and find new and better ways of achieving their mission, might signal their declining
relevance in the future. There can be no innovation without some degree of tolerance for failure
and reasonable risk taking.

The way universities adapt to the “knowledge and innovation imperatives” will set the context for
reforms in the future. The competition for talent will be fierce among universities and between
the private and public sectors. People will come to a university if they are given the chance to
make a difference, and the opportunity to use their skills and reach their full potential. A
university whose role is limited to repetitive and predictable tasks will attract a different kind of

In order to enable universities to meet new demands and challenges, it is necessary to reshape and
reinforce policy capacity. The policy capacity of a university refers to the ability of the VC and its
senior managers to make and implement policies. Policy makers face entirely new environments
that cannot be properly managed with the kind of capacities on which they have traditionally
relied. In many cases, such a capacity is lacking or, at the most, being seriously hampered. There
are three reasons for saying this:

1) A lot of universities, especially in developing countries, are struggling to attract sufficient

students, retain staff, meet wages bills, satisfy the conditions of outside regulatory bodies,
(such as the NCHE), etc. This is where the energy goes of those in positions of leadership
– trying to solve problems that need immediate answers. The result is that many VCs
become more used to seeing themselves as ‘crisis managers’ rather than as ‘strategic
managers’. Few have the time, or the energy, for contemplating the ‘big picture’,
articulating the challenges facing their institutions and formulating strategies for the next
10 years of a university’s development.

2) Many VCs are hampered by the presence of patrimonial management systems (that stress
loyalty to the institution rather than rationality and merit in policy-making). They find
themselves surrounded by senior management team who prefer to keep things as they are.
(Such a situation is exacerbated when many influential senior staff members are in their
last jobs, with no desire or incentive to rock the boat. As a result, change and those that
crave it are viewed as threats and blocked or worse.)

3) There is the issue of the relationship between the University Council with the VC. While
they are responsible for the appointment of the VC, often it is not at all clear whether

there is real trust placed in the person being tasked to run their university. When such
trust is lacking, there is little a VC can do to bring about much needed change.

1. In terms of countries, such as Uganda, what are the key challenges and trends in
universities at the present moment?
2. To what extent do the three challenges highlighted above affect your university. What
policies have you put in place to address the challenges?
3. Which of the three challenges discussed in this part of the module has the most relevance
to the situation of universities in Uganda?
4. What is your view of ‘policy-making function’, as part and parcel of your job as VC?

By the end of Part 2, you will be able to:

 Define strategic planning.

 Examine the reasons why strategic thinking and planning must be
part of the life of a university and
 Explain how a vice-chancellor, and the senior management team, can
develop a strategic plan for their university.
 Discuss leadership and management of 21st century universities.

There are a variety of perspectives, models and approaches used in strategic planning.
The way that a strategic plan is developed depends on the nature of a university’s
leadership, culture of the university, complexity of the university's environment, size of
the university, expertise of planners, etc. For example, there are a variety of strategic
planning models, including goals-based, issues-based, organic, and scenario planning.

Goals-based planning is probably the most common and starts with focus on the
university's mission, (and vision and/or values), goals to work toward the mission,
strategies to achieve the goals, and action planning (who will do what and by when).
Issues-based strategic planning often starts by examining issues facing the university,
strategies to address those issues, and action plans. Organic strategic planning might start
by articulating the university's vision and values and then action plans to achieve the
vision while adhering to those values. Some planners prefer a particular approach to
planning, e.g. appreciative inquiry. Some plans are scoped to one year, many to three
years, and some to five to ten years into the future. Some plans include only top-level
information and no action plans. Some plans are five to eight pages long, while others
can be considerably longer.

Quite often, a university's strategic planners already know much of what will go into a
strategic plan. However, development of the strategic plan greatly helps to clarify the
university's plans and ensure that key leaders are all “on the same page”. Far more
important than the strategic plan document, is the strategic planning process itself

Many vice-chancellors and members of a university senior management team spend most
of their time “fighting fires” in the sense that their time is spent realizing and reacting to
problems. For such people, it can be very difficult to stand back and take a hard look at
what we want to accomplish and how we want to accomplish it. We are too busy doing
what we think is making progress. However, one of the major differences between new

and experienced vice-chancellors, and senior managers, is the skill to see the broad
perspective, to take the long view on what they want to do and how they are going to do
it. One of the best ways to develop this strategic thinking ability is through an ongoing
experience in strategic planning. What is strategic planning?

What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is a means of establishing major directions for the university,
college/school or department. Through strategic planning, resources are concentrated in a
limited number of major directions in order to maximize benefits to stakeholders—those
we are employed to serve and who are affected by the choices we make. In universities,
stakeholders include academic and non-teaching staff. Strategic planning is structured
approach to anticipating the future and “exploiting the inevitable.

University strategic plan should details the institutions’ academic aims and objectives,
students number policies, staffing and physical resources strategies, information and
library system, strategies and financial strategies (including, financial forecast),In
addition, institutions should develop strategic plans that will be put into action, supported
by, or translated into individual department plans so that each know the part to play in the
overall development.

One of the most common sets of activities in the management is planning. Very simply
put, planning is setting the direction for something - some system - and then guiding the
system to follow the direction. There are many kinds of planning in the university sector.
Common to these many kinds of planning are various phases of planning and guidelines
for carrying them out as effectively as possible. Information in this document can be
referenced as a basis from which to carry out various kinds of planning, ranging from
highly complex to simple and basic. To help make the following information applicable
to as many situations as possible, the scope of the following planning information is to
the “system”, which is fully explained below. The following process should be
customized by planners in order to meet their needs and those of their universities.

Planning in its Larger Context – Working Backwards Through Any “System”

Before we jump into the typical phases in the standard “generic” planning process, let's
stand back and minute and briefly look at the role of planning in its overall context. This
is more than an academic exercise -- understanding this overall context for planning can
greatly help the reader to design and carry out the planning process in almost planning

One of the most common sets of activities in the management is planning. Very simply
put, planning is setting the direction for something - some system - and then working to
ensure the system follows that direction. Systems have inputs, processes, outputs and
outcomes. To explain, inputs to the system include resources such as raw materials,

money, technologies and people. These inputs go through a process where they're
aligned, moved along and carefully coordinated, ultimately to achieve the goals set for
the system. Outputs are tangible results produced by processes in the system, such as
expansion of university. Another kind of result is outcomes, or benefits for students, staff,
etc. Systems can be understood as the entire university, or its faculties or departments,

Whether the system is the whole university, a department, or a particular section, the
process of planning includes planners working backwards through the system. They start
from the results (outcomes and outputs) they prefer and work backwards through the
system to identify the processes needed to produce the results. Then they identify what
inputs (or resources) are needed to carry out the processes.

Quick Look at Some Basic Terms

It's not critical to grasp completely accurate definitions of each of the following terms. It's
more important for planners to have a basic sense for the difference between
goals/objectives (results) and strategies/tasks (methods to achieve the results).

Goals are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or in

some combination, in order to achieve some larger, overall result preferred from
the system, for example, the mission of a university. (Going back to our reference
to systems, goals are outputs from the system.)
Strategies or Activities are the methods or processes required in total, or in some
combination, to achieve the goals. (Going back to our reference to systems,
strategies are processes in the system.)
Objectives are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or
in some combination, to achieve the goals in the plan. Objectives are usually
“milestones” along the way when implementing the strategies.
Tasks, particularly in small universities, people are assigned various tasks
required to implement the plan. If the scope of the plan is very small, tasks and
activities are often essentially the same.
Resources (and Budgets) include the people, materials, technologies, money,
etc., required to implement the strategies or processes. The costs of these
resources are often depicted in the form of a budget. (Going back to our reference
to systems, resources are input to the system.)


Identifying or updating the mission, vision and values statements is usually done during
strategic planning. Vision Statements and Mission Statements are the inspiring words
chosen by successful leaders to clearly and concisely convey the direction of the
organization. By crafting a clear mission statement and vision statement, you can
powerfully communicate your intentions and motivate your team or organization to

realize an attractive and inspiring common vision of the future. An example of a mission
and vision statement for Makerere University Business School:

To be a leading Institution of academic excellence and innovations in Africa

To produce high calibre professionals and promote research and knowledge
transfer in Economics, Statistics, Business Management and Population
Sciences, for informed policy and sustainable development

Core Values
The College in pursuit of its mission is guided by the following core values:
 Integrity
 Teamwork
 Accountability
 Transparency
 Passion for Business
 Social Responsibility
 Respect for others

Mission Statement Creation

A Mission Statement defines the organization's purpose and primary objectives. Its prime
function is internal – to define the key measure or measures of the organization's success
– and its prime audience is the leadership team and stockholders.

Mission statements "give educators stronger motivation and provide parents with a
clearer picture of what the school values. … A clear vision and a common mission that
identify the kind of learning to be achieved can help keep the school and the efforts of its
staff and students on target" (Peterson, 1995). Mission statements are the "how-to"
statements or action plans that help schools achieve their vision. They prompt change and
growth. The mission is the touch point that can help you determine whether what should
be happening is, in fact, happening.

1. To create your mission statement, first identify your organization's "winning

2. This is the idea or approach that will make your organization stand out from its
competitors, and is the reason that customers will come to you and not your
competitors (see tip below).
3. Next identify the key measures of your success. Make sure you choose the most
important measures (and not too many of them!)
4. Combine your winning idea and success measures into a tangible and measurable
5. Refine the words until you have a concise and precise statement of your mission,
which expresses your ideas, measures and desired result.

Vision Statement Creation

Vision Statements define the organizations purpose, but this time they do so in terms of
the organization's values rather than bottom line measures (values are guiding beliefs
about how things should be done.) The vision statement communicates both the purpose
and values of the organization. For employees, it gives direction about how they are
expected to behave and inspires them to give their best. Shared with customers, it shapes
customers' understanding of why they should work with the organization.

The vision statement communicates both the purpose and values of the organization. For
employees, it gives direction about how they are expected to behave and inspires them to
give their best. Shared with customers, it shapes customers' understanding of why they
should work with the organization.

Once you have created your mission statement, move on to create your vision statement:
1. First identify your organization's mission. Then uncover the real, human value in
that mission.
2. Next, identify what you, your customers and other stakeholders will value most
about how your organization will achieve this mission. Distil these into the values
that your organization has or should have.
3. Combine your mission and values, and polish the words until you have a vision
statement inspiring enough to energize and motivate people inside and outside
your organization.

Developing a Vision Statement

1. The vision statement includes vivid description of the university as it effectively
carries out its operations.
2. Developing the vision can be the most enjoyable part of planning, but the part
where time easily gets away from you.
3. Note that originally, the vision was a compelling description of the state and
function of the university once it had implemented the strategic plan, i.e., a very
attractive image toward which the university was attracted and guided by the
strategic plan. Recently, the vision has become more of a motivational tool, too
often including highly idealistic phrasing and activities which the university
cannot realistically aspire. (For example, for a young African university to
include, in its vision statement that it aspires ‘to be the world’s leading research
institute’ is only be realistic if the institute was, at least, ranked in the top ten in
the world!).

Developing a Values Statement

1. Values represent the core priorities in the university’s culture, including what
drives staff’s priorities and how they truly act in the university, etc. Values are
increasingly important in strategic planning. They often drive the intent and
direction for “organic” planners.
2. Establish four to six core values from which the university would like to operate.
Consider values of the various shareholders, various categories of staff, and the
wider community, which the university serves.

3. Notice any differences between the university’s preferred values and its true
values, (the values actually reflected by staff members’ behaviours in the
university). Record each preferred value on a flash card, and then have each
member “rank” the values with 1, 2, or 3 in terms of the priority needed by the
university with 3 indicating the value is very important to the university and 1 is
least important. Then go through the cards again to rank how people think the
values are actually being enacted in the university with 3 indicating the values are
fully enacted and 1 indicating the value is hardly reflected at all. Then address
discrepancies where a value is highly preferred (ranked with a 3), but hardly
enacted, (ranked with a 1).
4. Incorporate into the strategic plan, actions to align actual behaviour with preferred

Value statements are often referred to as "guiding principles" and can mean different
things depending on who writes them. A value statement tells the customer and the
employee where the company stands and what the company believes in.
 A value statement is an expression of a company's core beliefs. Companies write
the statement to identify and connect with the stakeholders. Additionally, the
declaration allows for the university's staff to be aware of the priorities and goals
of the university.
 The value statement, along with a mission and vision statement, will form the
corporate culture and climate. Guiding principles are positive statements about the
core mission of the university.


The real benefit of the strategic planning process is the process, not the plan document.
There is no “perfect” plan. There's doing your best at strategic thinking and
implementation, and learning from what you're doing to enhance what you're doing the
next time around. The strategic planning process is usually not an “aha!” experience. It's
like the management process itself - it's a series of small moves that together keep the
university doing things right as it heads in the right direction. In planning, things usually
aren't as bad as you fear, nor are they as good as you'd like. Start simple, but start!

The context of planning in a university

Universities are not unitary institutions. They are composed of faculties and schools,
which have distinct tasks of preparing students for entry to particular professions or
inducting them into the intellectual tradition and methods of distinct disciplines.
Professions and disciplines have external reference groups and a fact of university that
staff loyalty and identification can be more strongly devoted to a professional
organization or to the international disciplinary network than to the seemingly less
relevant university that employs them. Thus university mangers need to take the context

of the university when they seek the interest and involvement of their academic staff in
strategic planning.

Strategic planning process

The process as follows:
 Analyzing the environment
 Creating the university’s vision
 Defining the university’s mission
 Set the goals
 Establishing measurable objectives for each goal and
 Constructing action plans (the desirable, the actions and who is responsible)

Both the external and internal environment of the university have to be analyzed.
Analysis of the external environment and predicting what impact it could have on the
university over the plan period. External environment include political, social, economic
and technological changes. In addition, market environment comprising of competitors,
students and employers have to be considered.

Analysis of the internal environment focus on the weakness and strength that exist with
regard to systems, processes, expertise, leadership, culture, communication structure,
facilities and equipment among others in the university. The other steps in strategic
planning were explained earlier.


1. Briefly an outline on overview of the planning process

2. What are the chief elements in the typical phases in planning?
3. How would you distinguish between mission, vision and values statements?
4. What factors are entailed in planning for action in a university setting?

3 PART 3
Specific Objectives:
By the end of Part 3, you will be able to:
 Define what is a leader, the types of leaders and what
makes a ‘great’ leader.
 Understand the linkages between leaders and vision;
power and leadership;
 Explain the notions of ‘transformational leadership’
and ‘servant leadership’ and some of the attributes
associated with each;
 Understand the meaning of ‘followership’ and what
makes an exemplary follower.


Effective managers are not necessarily true leaders. Many top administrators in
universities, and even vice-chancellors, can execute their responsibilities successfully
without being great leaders. But these positions do afford opportunity for leadership. The
ability to lead effectively, then, will set the great chancellors apart from the good ones.

While managing requires planning and budgeting routines, leading includes setting the
direction (creating a vision) for the university. Management, (especially for a new
university) will require: structuring the university, staffing it with capable people, and
monitoring activities. Leadership, however, goes far beyond these functions by inspiring
people to attain the vision. Great leaders keep people focused on moving the university
towards its ideal future, motivating them to overcome whatever obstacles lie in the way,


SUPERVISORY LEADERSHIP WHICH IS behaviour that provides guidance, support,
and corrective feedback for the day-to-day activities of staff members. Strategic
leadership ON THE OTHER HAND gives purpose and meaning to universities. Strategic
leadership involves anticipating and envisioning a viable future for the university, and
working with others to initiate changes that create such a future.

Let us now turn our attention to the notion of what is meant by a ‘leader’ and the
attributes of such a person.


A leader is one who influences others to attain goals, the greater the number of followers,
the greater the influence. And the more successful the attainment of worthy goals is, the
more evident the presence of great leadership. But we must explore beyond this bare
definition to capture the excitement and intrigue that devoted followers and students of
leadership feel when they see a great leader in action.

Outstanding leaders combine good strategic substance and effective interpersonal

processes to formulate and implement strategies that produce a sustainable competitive
advantage. They may launch enterprises, build university cultures, win wars, or otherwise
change the course of events. They are strategists who seize opportunities others overlook,
but they are also passionately concerned with detailing all the small fundamental realities
that can make or mar the grandest of plans.


A leader is one who influences others to attain goals, the greater the number of followers,
the greater the influence. And the more successful the attainment of worthy goals is, the
more evident the presence of great leadership. But we must explore beyond this bare
definition to capture the excitement and intrigue that devoted followers and students of
leadership feel when they see a great leader in action.

Outstanding leaders combine good strategic substance and effective interpersonal

processes to formulate and implement strategies that produce a sustainable competitive
advantage. They may launch enterprises, build university cultures, win wars, or otherwise
change the course of events. They are strategists who seize opportunities others overlook,
but they are also passionately concerned with detailing all the small fundamental realities
that can make or mar the grandest of plans.


“The leader’s job is to create a vision” is a common expression and is repeated often in
Jim Collins’ bestselling book on leadership, From Good to Great. Until a few years ago,
vision was not a word one heard managers utter, But today, having a vision for the future
and communicating that vision to others are known to be essential components of great
leadership. Leaders are described as painters of the vision and architects of the journey.
So what kind of vision are we talking about? Let’s apply the meaning of the word, as
used in modern management theory, to universities.

A vision is a mental image of a possible and desirable future state of the
university. It expresses the leader’s ambitions for the university. The best
visions are both ideal and unique. If a vision conveys an idea, it
communicates a standard of excellence and a clear choice of positive
values. If the vision is also unique, it communicates and inspires pride in
being different from other universities. The choice of language is
important; the words should imply a combination of realism and optimism,
an action orientation, and resolution and confidence that the vision will be

Visions can be small or large and can exist through all organizational levels as well as at
the very top. The important points are that:
 a vision is necessary for effective leadership;
 a person or team can develop a vision for any job in university; and
 many people, including vice-chancellors and their deputies, who do not develop
into strong leaders, do not develop a clear vision – instead, they focus on
performing or surviving on a day-to-day basis as they await their retirement.

Put another way, leaders must know what they want. And other people must understand
what that is. The leader must be able to articulate the vision, clearly and often. Other
people throughout the university should understand the vision and be able to state it
clearly themselves. But the vision means nothing until the leader and followers take
action to turn the vision into reality.

Let us now turn and examine two models of leaders that have much to contribute to the
growth and development of universities, especially in the context of Africa. The first is
“transformational leadership” and the second is “servant leadership”. Unlike more
traditional models of leadership, which emphasise authority, power-distance, these seek
to lead others through by the power of inspiration and example.


Transformational Leadership
This is defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social
systems. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with
the end goal of developing followers into leaders. Enacted in its authentic form,
transformational leadership enhances the motivation, morale and performance of
followers through a variety of mechanisms. These include connecting the follower's sense
of identity and self to the mission and the collective identity of the organization; being a
role model for followers that inspires them; challenging followers to take greater
ownership for their work, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of followers,
so the leader can align followers with tasks that optimise their performance.

James MacGrgor Burns, (See his Leadership, 1978), first introduced the concept of
transforming leadership in his descriptive research on political leaders. According to
Burns, transforming leadership is a process in which "leaders and followers help each
other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation". Burns related to the
difficulty in differentiation between management and leadership and claimed that the
differences are in characteristics and behaviours. He established two concepts:
"transforming leadership" and "transactional leadership”.

According to Burns, the transforming approach creates significant change in the life of
people and organizations. It redesigns perceptions and values, and changes expectations
and aspirations of employees. Unlike in the transactional approach, it is not based on a
"give and take" relationship, but on the leader's personality, traits and ability to make a
change through example, articulation of an energizing vision and challenging goals.
Transforming leaders are idealized in the sense that they are a moral exemplar of working
towards the benefit of the team, organization and/or community. Burns theorized that
transforming and transactional leadership were mutually exclusive styles.

The extent to which a leader is transformational, is measured first, in terms of his

influence on the followers. The followers of such a leader feel trust, admiration, loyalty
and respect for the leader and because of the qualities of the transformational leader are
willing to work harder than originally expected. These outcomes occur because the
transformational leader offers followers something more than just working for self gain;
they provide followers with an inspiring mission and vision and give them an identity.
The leader transforms and motivates followers through his or her idealized influence,
intellectual stimulation and individual consideration. In addition, this leader encourages
followers to come up with new and unique ways to challenge the status quo and to alter
the environment to support being successful.

In summary, we can say there are four elements of transformational leadership:

1. Individualized Consideration – the degree to which the leader attends to each
follower's needs, acts as a mentor or coach to the follower and listens to the
follower's concerns and needs. The leader gives empathy and support, keeps
communication open and places challenges before the followers. This also
encompasses the need for respect and celebrates the individual contribution that
each follower can make to the team. The followers have a will and aspirations for
self development and have intrinsic motivation for their tasks.
2. Intellectual Stimulation – the degree to which the leader challenges
assumptions, takes risks and solicits followers' ideas. Leaders with this style
stimulate and encourage creativity in their followers. They nurture and develop
people who think independently. For such a leader, learning is a value and
unexpected situations are seen as opportunities to learn. The followers ask
questions, think deeply about things and figure out better ways to execute their
3. Inspirational Motivation – the degree to which the leader articulates a vision
that is appealing and inspiring to followers. Leaders with inspirational motivation
challenge followers with high standards, communicate optimism about future

goals, and provide meaning for the task at hand. Followers need to have a strong
sense of purpose if they are to be motivated to act. Purpose and meaning provide
the energy that drives a group forward. The visionary aspects of leadership are
supported by communication skills that make the vision understandable, precise,
powerful and engaging. The followers are willing to invest more effort in their
tasks, they are encouraged and optimistic about the future and believe in their
4. Idealized Influence – Provides a role model for high ethical behavior, instills
pride, gains respect and trust.

As can be seen from the above, the need for leadership qualities in universities is not
restricted to the VC and the senior managers, but extends to staff workers at all levels.
Leadership exists at many places inside the university, both formally and informally.
Formal leadership, exercised by those appointed or elected to positions of authority,
entails activities such as setting direction, providing symbols of the mission, ensuring that
tasks are done, supporting resource development, and modeling the importance of
students as clients or customers.

On the other hand, persons who become influential exert informal leadership because
they possess special skills or resources valued or needed by others. Examples of informal
transformational leadership include spearheading the reorganization of a university
library services, or initiating an innovative, multi-disciplinary approach to the way
research is carried out in a university.

In universities with effective leadership, each staff member believes that he or she should
and can contribute to the success of the institution, act as a partner, be largely self-
directed, and assume responsibility for his or her actions and contributions. As a group,
staff feel empowered and have the requisite knowledge, skills, opportunity, guidelines
and personal initiative to perform effectively.

Servant Leadership
The servant-leader takes care to ensure that his people’s greatest needs are being met and
that those, while being served by the manager, “become healthier, wiser, freer, more
autonomous, more likely to become servants. A servant-leader should:
 Listen first so that they may understand a situation;
 Develop their intuition and ability to ‘foresee the unforeseeable’;
 Lead by persuasion, forging change by ‘convincement rather than coercion’;
 Conceptualize the reforms they seek and lift others to see the possibilities also;
 Empower by creating opportunities and alternatives for those in their care.
The image of servant-manager contrasts with the typical notion of a vice-chancellor as a
power-wielding authority figure. Here we see the vice-chancellor as one whose first
responsibility is to consider the needs of others and to create conditions where the led can
become leaders themselves.

Nelson Mandela would be regarded by many as the model for understanding the meaning
of ‘servant-leadership’. In the recent movie, Invictus, (2009) he is shown taking over the
position as President of South Africa. On his first day at work, he notices a lot of the
white staff packing their bags to leave. He decided to call them into his office and explain
that no one was forcing them to leave. He addressed them by saying: ‘The new South
Africa needs everyone and if you want to stay with me and do your best to make the
President’s Office the best it can be, believe me when I say that I promise to also do my
best.’ That is a servant-leader speaking.

Here are some important characteristics of servant-leaders:

 Listening - Leaders have been traditionally valued for their knowledge and
communication skills. These skills need to be reinforced by a deep commitment to
listening intently to others. The servant-leader seeks to identify the will of a group
and helps clarify that will. He or she seeks to listen receptively to what is being
said (and not said). Listening also encompasses getting in touch with one’s inner
voice and seeking to understand what one’s body, spirit and mind are
communicating. Robert Greenleaf, in his book Servant Leadership, (1978) speaks
about the role of listening: “Only a natural servant automatically responds to any
problem by listening first.” (p.7). When he or she, is a leader, this disposition
causes him or her to be seen as servant first. Listening deepens levels of
communication and understanding. A listening leader strengthens people, helping
them clarify how they might grow.
 Empathy - Servant-leaders try to empathize with others – to recognize
individuals for their special traits and unique talents. They assume the good
intentions of co-workers and do not reject them as people even though one cannot
always accept their behaviour or performance. The most successful servant-
leaders become skilled empathetic listeners.
 Healing - Learning to heal is a powerful force for transformation and integration.
One strength of servant-leaders is their potential for healing themselves and
others. Many people have broken spirits and have suffered emotional hurts.
Servant-leaders ‘help make whole’ those whom they come in contact.
 Persuasion - Servant-leaders reply upon persuasion rather than their positional
authority in making decisions. They seek to convince others rather than coerce
compliance. The servant-leader is effective at building consensus within groups.
 Commitment to the growth of others - Servant-leaders believe that individuals
have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contribution to an organization, such
as a university. As such, servant-leaders are deeply committed to the growth of
each individual, recognising the tremendous responsibility to do everything within
their power to nurture the personal and spiritual growth of those in their care.

Neither transformational leadership nor servant leadership is a quick-fix approach to the

problems of universities in modern-day Africa or anywhere else. Rather, they both
represent a long-term, transformational approach to life and work – a way of being –
with the potential to create positive change. These characteristics communicate the power
and promise this concept offers to those leaders who are open to its challenge.


“Follower” is not a term of weakness but the condition that permits leadership to exist
and gives it strength. No single researcher has studied followers and followership more
than Robert Kelley. In his book, The Power of Followership, (1992), he says that follower
behaviour can be categorized using a two-dimensional taxonomy. One dimension, the
vertical axis, ranges from independent, critical thinking at one end to dependent, non-
critical thinking at the other. The other dimension, the horizontal axis, ranges from
passive to active.

The best or effective followers are individuals who:

 Think for themselves;
 Give constructive criticism;
 Are their own person;
 Are creative and innovative;

At the other ends of the spectrum, the worst or ineffective followers:

 Must be told what to do;
 Do not think for themselves;
 Cannot make it to the bathroom on their own.

In between are several other kinds of followers who comprise the bulk of the people we
work with. We will look at each group in turn.
In between are several other kinds of followers who comprise the bulk of the people we
work with. We will look at each group in turn.


Alienated Followers Effective Followers



Passive Followers Conformist Followers

(Sheep) (Yes people)


1. Alienated Followers
These are constant irritants and are like festering wounds. They like to point out all the
negative aspects of university procedures, policies and goals, and invariably overlook
positive aspects. They are known to be capable but cynical, frequently holding back their
best efforts, or perhaps displaying disgruntled acquiescence. Their own self-image,
however, often differs significantly from their image as seen by others, especially those in
charge. Alienated followers often describe themselves as:
 Mavericks who think for themselves;
 Having a healthy skepticism that sees things for what they really are;
 Playing the devil’s advocate in the group;
 The ‘conscience’ of the university;

Vice-chancellors, however, often see alienated followers as:

 Troublesome, cynical or negative;
 Headstrong but lacking judgment;
 Not team players, uncooperative;
 Adversarial to the point of being hostile.

Alienated followers may formerly have been exemplary followers who became
disgruntled over setbacks, unmet expectations or broken trust. So the prospect of their
becoming exemplary followers again depends on willing self-examination and reducing
their negativity through constructive problem solving by who?

Without these approaches which ones? The alienation will undoubtedly persist. However,
for alienated persons, continuing to vent hostility over perceived broken trust or unmet
expectations generally leads nowhere. Although they may feel moments of satisfaction
from getting a jab in here or there, approaching their position in this way is ultimately a
losing proposition. The individual is unhappy and continues to make others unhappy by
griping and sniping.

2. Conformist Followers
Conformist followers are the ‘yes people’ found in all universities. They are the active
followers who readily and uncritically carry out orders. Quite often they seem to have a
personality predisposition to be obsequious and self-deprecating or adverse to conflict.

Often, this behaviour results from the authoritarian – demanding – style of the person
running the university or an overly rigid organizational structure. Domineering vice-
chancellors who seek power over others encourage conformists as they need ‘yes people.’

Conformist followers are active participants seen as committed contributors. However,

they should recognize that the university needs their constructive, critical views as well.
They need to cultivate independent, critical thinking by evaluating the ideas of others –
even managers – then exercising the courage to articulate their own points of view.

3. Pragmatist Followers
Pragmatist followers, or survivors as they are called, keep to the middle of the road. They
are rarely committed to team goals, but have learned not to make waves. Because they do
not like to stick their necks out, pragmatists tend to be mediocre performers and clog the
arteries of a university.

They present an ambiguous challenge image with both positive and negative
characteristics since it is difficult to discern just where they stand on issues. On the
positive side, they are sometimes seen as:
 Keeping things in perspective;
 Knowing how to work the system to get things done;
 Toeing the middle line so as to keep the university from going overboard in either
 Playing by the rules of the game.

Unfortunately, these same behaviours can be interpreted as:

 Playing political games;
 Bargaining to maximise one’s own self-interests;
 Being adverse to risk and prone to cover one’s tracks;
 Being a bureaucrat who adheres to the letter of the rule rather than the spirit.

Pragmatist followers may adopt this behavioural style as a result of organizational

conditions, personal preferences or some combination of the two. It can be a survivor
mode, adopted as a coping mechanism in order to “ride out the storm” in an unstable or
turbulent environment. Another possibility is that pragmatists are simply averse to taking
risks. They live by the slogan, “Better safe than sorry.”

Pragmatist followers are “stuck in the middle.” To change, they must decide whether
mere survival is sufficiently fulfilling to them. The answer may well be yes in times of
crisis. But to choose more than survival in the university, they must be willing to stretch
along both dimensions of effective followership. Pragmatists should be asked: “Besides
protecting yourself, isn’t there something you really want to accomplish in life? Is there
any goal or mission you can commit yourself to with enthusiasm?”

4. Passive Followers
Passive followers are also known as “sheep.” They:
1. Lack initiative and a sense of responsibility;
2. Look to managers to do their thinking;
3. Require constant direction when performing tasks;
4. Do not carry out assignments with enthusiasm.

Vice-chancellors and those in senior management, often see passive followers as:
1. Incompetent
2. Lazy;
3. Unmotivated;
4. Stupid.

Some passive followers may indeed deserve these characteristics. But others may have
adopted this behaviour style, not because they are passive by nature but to help them cope
with a former vice-chancellor who expected followers to behave in this way.

In order to improve their effectiveness, passive followers need to change significantly on

both dimensions of effective followership.

5. Effective or Exemplary Followers

Effective or exemplary followers are important to organizational success and are high on
both critical dimensions of followership. They are seen by both co-workers and those in
leadership positions as:
1. Independent;
2. Innovative, creative;
3. Courageous in articulating their views and willing to stand up to superiors when
4. Ready to apply their talents for the benefit of the university even when confronted
with bureaucratic stumbling blocks and passive or pragmatist co-workers.

What distinguishes effective from ineffective followers is enthusiastic, intelligent and

self-reliant participation in the pursuit of the organizational mission. Effective followers
are well-balanced, responsible adults. They can succeed without strong leadership.

Many effective or exemplary followers believe they offer as much value to the university
as managers do, especially in project or taskforce situations.

As organizational structures flatten, the quality of those who follow will become more
and more important. Vice-chancellors, therefore, would be well advised to select for
empowerment, people who have the qualities of exemplary followers. Perhaps even more
important, they should create the conditions and climate that encourage these
characteristic behaviours.


The qualities that make effective and exemplary followers are pretty much the same
qualities found in effective leaders. This is no mere coincidence, of course. Followership
is not a person but a position. What distinguishes followers from leaders is not
intelligence or character but responsibility. Effective followers and effective leaders are
sometimes the same people playing different roles at different times.

In many universities, the leadership track is the only road to career success. Leadership is
taught and encouraged while followership is not. Yet effective followership is prerequisite
for organizational success. A university can take steps to cultivate effective followers by
doing the following:

1. Redefine Followership and Leadership
Instead of seeing the leadership role, as vice-chancellor, as putting one in a class above
everyone else in the university and, therefore superior to the role of follower, we need to
start thinking of them as equal but different activities. The operative definitions are
roughly these:

People, who are effective in the leadership role, as vice-chancellors, have:

 The vision to set university goals and strategies;
 The interpersonal skills to achieve consensus;
 The persuasive skills to communicate enthusiasm to large or diverse groups of
 The organizational talent to coordinate disparate efforts;
 The desire to lead.

People who are effective in the follower role have:

 The vision to see both the forest and the trees;
 The social capacity to work well with others;
 The strength of character to flourish without heroic status;
 The moral and psychological balance to pursue personal and corporate goals at no
cost to either;
 The desire to participate in a team effort for the accomplishment of some greater
common purpose and mission.

This view of leadership and followership can be conveyed directly and indirectly –
through training and by example.

2. Foster Followership Skills

Most still assume that leadership has to be taught but that everyone knows how to follow.
This assumption is based on three faulty premises:
 That followers are less important than leaders;
 That following is simply doing what you are told;
 That followers inevitably draw their energy and aims, even their talents, from the

A programme of follower training can correct these misconceptions by focusing on such

topics as:
 Fostering independent, critical thinking;
 Increasing self-management and personal effectiveness;
 Building credibility;
 Disagreeing agreeably and resolving differences;
 Developing assertiveness skills and resilience;
 Aligning personal and organizational goals and commitments;
 Acting responsibly toward the university, the leaders, co-workers and oneself;
 Identifying similarities and differences between leadership and followership roles;

 Moving between the two roles with ease.

Universities that want the benefits of effective followers must find ways of rewarding
them and brining them into full partnership in the enterprise. Today’s flatter, leaner
universities will not succeed without people who take pride and satisfaction in the role of
supporting player, doing the less glorious work without fanfare

3. Involve Subordinates in the Empowerment Process

Think for a moment of a university blessed with fully-engaged, fully-energized, fully-
appreciated senior management team and academic and support staff. What would the
spirit be? How would people feel about coming into work? Would they be open to staying
on late to finish an important job? The answers are easy to formulate but finding a
university like that in which to work can be an altogether different thing!

Empowerment can enrich people’s working lives by making their jobs more satisfying. It
broadens their job activities, gives them more involvement in decision-making and allows
them greater responsibility for their own success or failure. And the process is as
applicable to a person operating a computer in the diocesan catechetical office as to a
parish priest in a large town.

There are special factors to be considered, however, in involving subordinate staff in the
empowerment process. Extending the boundaries of a job may give greater
empowerment, but some will have to also develop new skills.

People who are making decisions must be able to deal with the consequences and
associated stress. A person working in the IT department, for example, horrified at the
thought of being involved in decision-making about the type of computers that the
university wants to buy, thought it should be a senior management responsibility. He was
not willing to risk making a wrong choice.

Empowerment does not occur automatically. People slowly build up the confidence to
face the demands of their greater role.


Thinking about your university, how are strategic leaders selected? What criteria is used
to appoint VCs, Deans and Heads of Departments? Are their roles clearly spelt out in
relation to the mission and visions of the university? What factors influence the selection
of university leaders and how can they be mitigated to enable the most able to lead our
universities competitively in the 21st Century?


1. How did you see your role as leader when you were appointed a vice-
chancellor, (or to another senior management post in the university), and
how do you see it now?
2. List FIVE specific needs you see in the staff you lead. Which of these
needs are not being fully addressed and what can you, as a leader, do
about them?
3. Write down on a separate sheet of paper your institution’s mission, vision
and core values.
a. Are the three related?
b. Identify an example of how you work towards their achievement.

Specific Objectives:
By the end of the Part 4 you should be able to:
 Discuss organizational culture in universities
 Examine the forces of change in universities
 Discuss the techniques universities use to change behaviour of
its staff as they perform their tasks


Organisational culture is comprised of distinct observable forms that groups of people

create through social interaction and use to confront the boarder social environment. The
observable forms manifest in behaviour of the people in the institution, their values and
assumptions and beliefs.

“Corporate Culture”- Corporate culture is the total sum of values, customs, traditions and
meaning that make an organization unique. Corporate culture is often referred to as “the
character of the organization” since it embodies the vision of the organization’s founders.
The values of a corporate culture influence the ethical standards within the corporation as
well as managerial behaviour.

Senior managers must try to establish a corporate culture, which could reflect the values
and standards of behaviour that specifically reflect the objectives of the organization. For
example, Uganda Christian University tries to ensure that all lecturers are married and do
so in Church; all students stay in designated halls of residence preferably run and owned
by the university itself etc. These values are however challenged by other factors that are
equally important such as the need for expansion to accommodate those who are able and
willing to study from the university and the institution’s need to earn more money to
survive in the market. What happens to its corporate culture under radically changing
times? Uganda Martyrs University also originally required all students’ applications to be
supported by local parish priests but abandoned it as the number of non-catholic students


Chares Handy, identifies four different cultures in a university as summaries below:

 Power Culture, which concentrates power among a few. Control radiates from
the center like a web. Power and influence spread out from a central figure or
group. Power desires from the top person and personal relationships with that
individual matters more than any formal title of position. Power Cultures have
few rules and little bureaucracy; swift decisions can ensue.
 In a Role Culture, people have clearly delegated authorities within a highly
defined structure. Typically, these organizations form hierarchical bureaucracies.
Power derives from a person's position and little scope exists for expert power.
Controlled by procedures, roles descriptions and authority definitions. Predictable
and consistent systems and procedures are highly valued.
 By contrast, in a Task Culture, teams are formed to solve particular problems.
Power derives from expertise as long as a team requires expertise. These cultures
often feature the multiple reporting lines of a matrix structure. It is all a small
team approach, who are highly skilled and specialist in their own markets of
 A Person Culture exists where all individuals believe themselves superior to the
organization. Survival can become difficult for such organizations, since the
concept of an organization suggests that a group of like-minded individuals
pursue the organizational goals. Some professional partnerships can operate as
person cultures, because each partner brings a particular expertise and clientele to
the firm.


Organizational culture is possibly the most critical factor determining an organization's

capacity, effectiveness, and longevity. It also contributes significantly to the
organization's brand image and brand promise by:

 Creating energy and momentum. The energy will permeate the organization and
create a new momentum for success.
 Guaranteeing stability and, therefore, continuity, which is crucial for the
organization. We need people who share the same values, beliefs and ways of
doing things but here is the problem: in radically changing times where change is
a MUST, organizational culture can be a real impediment.

The above-mentioned relevance of organizational culture supports the proposition that, in

this competitive and globalized corporate scenario, there is great need of organizational
development strategy at various workforce departments, as this can improve the
company's culture.
A normative systems culture change process is necessary highlighting the first phase of
Analysis- the existing culture is examined to see what ideas are likely to grow in the
culture. Leadership is engaged and goals are determined. This is followed by phase two-

the seed of the new cultural ideas is planted in the minds of the members of the culture
and employees at all levels are informed about the initiative and asked to participate. In
the third phase, the new cultural practices are nurtured. Finally, results are harvested,
success is celebrated and plans are set for building on the progress that has been

Organizational culture is accumulated over the years and it is very difficult to change in
the short run. We now turn to change and its challenges in a university setting.


More and more universities today face a dynamic and changing environment. This, in
turn, is requires these universities to adapt. “Change or die!” is the rallying cry among
today’s university leaders.

Besides forces for change that come from outside of the university, (i.e. the government’s
policy on development, etc), there are those that come from within. Many people, for
example, have a far higher expectation level of what a university should be providing.
They expect, for example, a higher standard of academic excellence than in the past and
visible signs of improvement. Vice-chancellors and senior management cannot ignore
these demands and must strive, (and, of equal importance, be seen to strive), for
excellence in every aspect of a university’s life and work.

Managing Planned Change

If a university is to survive and grow in a 21 st century environment, it must respond to
changes in its environment. Efforts to stimulate innovation, empower members, and
introduce improvements are examples of planned-change activities directed at responding
to changes in the environment.

Since a university’s success or failure is essentially due to the things that its staff
members do or fail to do, planned change also is concerned with changing the behaviour
of individuals and groups within the university. (In the final part of this section, we
review a number of techniques that universities can use to get people to behave
differently in the tasks they perform and in their interactions with others.)

It also helps to think of planned change in terms of order of magnitude. First-order

change is linear and continuous. It implies no fundamental shifts in the assumptions that
staff members hold about their faith or how the university can improve it’s functioning.
In contrast, second-order change is a multidimensional, multilevel, discontinuous, radical
change involving reframing of assumptions about the university and the context in which
it operates.

Who in universities are responsible for managing change activities? The answer is change
agents. Change agents can be the vice-chancellor, his or her deputies, senior management

staff, deans, other staff members, and people closely associated with the life and work of
the university.


What can a change agents change? The options essentially fall into three categories:
structure, physical setting, and people. Changing structure involves making an alteration
in authority relations, coordination mechanisms, job redesign, or similar structural
variables. Changing the physical setting covers altering the space and layout
arrangements in the university. Changing people refers to changes in staff attitudes, skills,
expectations, perceptions, and/or behaviour.

Changing Structures
A university’s structure is defined by how tasks are formally divided, grouped, and
coordinated. Change agents can alter one or more of the key elements in a university’s
design. For instance, responsibilities can be combined, vertical layers removed, and spans
of control widened to make the university flatter and less bureaucratic. More rules and
procedures can be implemented to increase standardization. An increase in
decentralization can be made to speed up the decision-making process. (For example,
should former students, after graduation, have to wait three to six months before being
provided with a transcript? The answer is clearly ‘No’ but what in a university’s structure
causes such delays? If you don’t know, find out!)

Change agents can also introduce major modifications in the actual structural design. This
might include a shift from a simple structure to a team-based structure. Change agents
might consider redesigning jobs or work schedules. Job descriptions can be redefined,
jobs enriched, or flexible work hours introduced.

Changing the Physical Setting

In order to assess the physical setting of the university, and what changes are needed,
senior managers should have a map or display with scale models made up for them. With
the whole picture before them, they can consider with others how best space might be
utilized and what structural improvements are needed. By prioritizing needs and drawing
up a three or five year plan, vice-chancellors and their senior management team can set
out a vision for what the university might look like in the future.

A final idea: some universities encourage specific groups of people to undertake a project
geared at improving the university in some way. With encouragement, and careful
selection, a small team can do wonders if they are motivated properly. (For example, if
there is an architecture or design faculty in your university, use them to come up with
ideas for how to improve the way the university looks. Who else could be useful for this
task? Sit down and think about it!)

Changing People
The final area in which change agents operate is in helping individuals and groups within
the university to work more effectively together.

This category typically involves changing the attitudes and behaviour of members
through processes of communication, decision-making, and problem solving.

This is the toughest task of all – academic timetable can be re-drawn and tables can be
moved around, but what of people in a university? Some will block any proposed change
– not because the change being suggested is bad – but simply because they resent change
and were not consulted.

One of the changes in Makerere University is the college system where schools
and faculties have been amalgamated to form larger and more self-sustaining
colleges. At the head of the college is a principal who oversees the running as
well as the financial flows in the college. The system of deans as the
administrators and financial controllers has come to an end. The new and
probably the most important role of the Dean that was grossly neglected
before is academic leadership. The roles of the former academic dean are now
the sole responsibilities of the school/ faculty dean. The college structures
have changed university management for instance, now each college has an
academic registrar, a bursar, an appointments board etc. In addition space
allocation has been more political than ever as the administrative staff
increases in number, as colleague offices are allocated in different buildings as
a result of the merger etc. these changes have implications to the attitudes of
people in colleges. For instance the position of a Dean, once fought for is not
an attraction to many as deans have been reduced to the level of Heads of
Departments. How will these changes affect the election politics where
formerly ethnicity, religion and political affiliations played a big part?


One of the well-documented findings from studies of individual and organizational

behaviour is that people, in general resist change. In a sense, this is not altogether a bad
thing. Keeping things as they are provides a degree of stability and predictability to
behaviour. If there weren’t some resistance, organizational behaviour could take on
characteristics of chaotic randomness. That said, resistance to change can also be a source
of conflict in a group. For example, resistance to a plan to reorganize the central
administration of a university can stimulate a healthy debate over the merits of the idea
and result in a better decision. But there is a definite downside to resistance to change. It
hinders adaptation and progress.

Resistance to change does not necessarily surface in standardized ways. Resistance can
be overt, implicit, immediate, or deferred. It is easiest for a leader to deal with resistance
when it is overt and immediate. For instance, a change is proposed and staff members

quickly respond by voicing complaints. The greater challenge is managing resistance that
is implicit or deferred. Implicit resistance efforts are more subtle - loss of loyalty to the
university, loss of motivation to work, increased errors or mistakes, late submission of
end-of-semester exam marks, increased absenteeism from university activities due to
“sickness” - and hence more difficult to recognize. Similarly, deferred actions cloud the
link between the source of the resistance and the reaction to it. A change may produce
what appears to be only a minimal reaction at the time it is initiated, but then resistance
surfaces weeks, months, or even years later. Or a single change that in and of itself might
have little impact becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Reactions to change
can build up and then explode in some response that seems totally out of proportion to the
change action it follows. The resistance, of course, has merely been deferred and
stockpiled. What surfaces is a response to an accumulation of previous changes.

Let’s look at the sources of resistance. For analytical purposes, we’ll categorize them by
individual and organizational sources that often overlap.

Individual Resistance
Individual sources of resistance to change reside in basic human characteristics such as
perceptions, personalities, and needs. The following summarizes four reasons why
individuals may resist change.
1) HABIT As human beings, we’re creatures of habit. Life is complex enough; we
don’t need to consider the full range of options for the hundreds of decisions we have
to make every day. To cope with this complexity, we all rely on habits or
programmed responses. But when confronted with change, this tendency to respond
in our accustomed ways becomes a source of resistance.
2) SECURITY People with a high need for security are likely to resist change because
it threatens their feelings of safety. When a Dean of a Faculty, for example, says that
he or she is reorganizing allocation of duties, some staff members, especially senior
academic staff, may fear that their status or position in the university is in jeopardy.
3) FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN Changes substitute ambiguity and uncertainty for the
known. The arrival of a new vice-chancellor is typically such an experience. We
might not have especially liked his or her predecessor, but at least we understood him
or her. Then a new person arrives and brings in new ways of doing things. If, for
example, the introduction of a new system of staff appraisals, some might feel
aggrieved that they were not consulted. They may, therefore, develop a negative
attitude towards the new leader and actively work against him or her, although the
arguments in favor of introducing the new appraisal system are obvious to everyone
else concerned.
4) SELECTIVE INFORMATION PROCESSING Individuals shape their world
through their perceptions. Once they have created this world, it resists change. So
individuals are guilty of selectively processing information in order to keep their
perceptions intact. They hear what they want to hear. They ignore information that
challenges the world they’ve created. To return to the academic staff member
resistant to the introduction of a new staff appraisal system, they may ignore the
arguments their colleagues make in explaining the potential benefits the change will
provide to the university and to staff.

Organizational Resistance
Universities, by their very nature, are conservative. They actively resist change. You
don’t have to look far to see evidence of this phenomenon. Many universities, for
example, want to continue doing what they have been doing for years, whether the need
for their services changes or remains the same. This is because it has become deeply
entrenched in its history. Any attempt to change practice requires great persistence and

Six major sources of organizational resistance can be identified:

1) STRUCTURAL INERTIA Universities have built-in mechanisms to produce
stability. For example, the recruitment process for a university systematically selects
certain who are known already as solid types. Often, they were themselves, students
at the same university. Other socialization techniques often reinforce specific role
requirements and skills. Formalization provides rules and procedures for staff
members to follow. The people who are in universities are chosen for fit; they are
then shaped and directed to behave in certain ways. When a university is confronted
with change, this structural inertia acts as a counterbalance to sustain stability.
2) LIMITED FOCUS OF CHANGE Universities are made up of a number of
interdependent subsystems. You can’t change one without affecting the others. If the
admissions department, for example, decide to lower the entry requirements for
certain courses, the impact will be felt very quickly by those who have to teach
students with markedly less ability than in previous years.
3) GROUP INERTIA Even if individual staff members want to bring in changes,
group norms in their faculty or department may act as a constraint. There is nothing
more depressing than receiving the put-down at a faculty meeting when an individual
staff member talks excitedly about introducing a new course – and the reaction is
‘Why should we? It only means extra work.’
4) THREAT TO EXPERTISE Changes in working patterns may threaten the expertise
of specialized groups. The proposal to establish of a new institute or department that
has a cross-cutting themes, (for example: ‘Peace Studies’ or ‘Good Governance’, may
cause problems for those in the Faculty of Social Sciences who have been offering
courses in both area and now feel they are the experts in the respective areas. They
feel aggrieved that others are taking over ‘their’ courses. )
decision-making authority can threaten long-established power relationships within a
university. The introduction of a weekly senior management team meeting is the kind
of change that is often seen as threatening by some senior managers. They feel they
are being called to be accountable to their juniors, even though the meeting is
primarily one, which attempts to synergies their collective efforts to run a good ship.
the university that control sizable resources often see change as a threat. They tend to
be content with the way things are. Will a change, for instance, mean a reduction in
their budgets or a cut in their staff size? Those that most benefit from the current
allocation of resources often feel threatened by changes that may affect future


Six tactics have been suggested for use by change agents in dealing with resistance to
1) COMMUNICATION Resistance can be reduced through communicating with
staff members to help them see the logic of a change. This tactic basically
assumes that the source of resistance lies in misinformation or poor
communication: If staff members receive the full facts and get any
misunderstandings cleared up, resistance will subside. Communication can be
achieved through one-on-one discussions, group presentations, or reports at staff
meetings. Does it work? It does, provided that the source of resistance is
inadequate communication and that leader–members relations are characterized
by mutual trust and credibility. If these conditions don’t exist, the change is
unlikely to succeed.
2) PARTICIPATION It is difficult for individuals to resist a change decision in
which they participated. Prior to making a change, those opposed can be brought
into the decision process. Assuming that the participants have the expertise to
make a meaningful contribution, their involvement can reduce resistance, obtain
commitment, and increase the quality of the change decision. However, against
these advantages are the negatives: potential for a poor solution and great time
3) FACILITATION AND SUPPORT Change agents can offer a range of
supportive efforts to reduce resistance. When fear and anxiety are high, providing
new skills training may smooth the road ahead. Returning to the subject of staff
appraisals, if an SMT want its introduction to be successful it makes sense to
hold a one-day workshop on the topic, and show people how the new system
works. The drawback of this tactic is that, as with the others, it is time
consuming. Additionally, it’s expensive, and its implementation offers no
assurance of success.
4) NEGOTIATION Another way for the change agents to deal with potential
resistance to change is to exchange something of value for a lessening of the
resistance. For instance, if the resistance is centered in a few powerful
individuals, a specific reward package can be negotiated that will meet their
individual needs. Negotiation as a tactic may be necessary when resistance comes
from a powerful source. Yet one cannot ignore its potentially high costs.
Additionally, there is the risk that, once a vice-chancellor, or another member of
the SMT, negotiates with one party to avoid resistance, he or she is open to the
possibility of being blackmailed by other individuals in positions of power.
5) MANIPULATION This refers to twisting and distorting facts to make them
appear more attractive, withholding undesirable information, and creating false
rumors to get members to accept a change are all examples of manipulation.
Manipulation is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to gain the support of
adversaries, but the tactics can backfire if the targets become aware that they are
being tricked or used. Once discovered, the change member’s credibility may
drop to zero.
6) COERCION Last on the list of tactics is coercion, that is, the application of
direct threats or force upon the resisters. ‘It’s either my way or the highway.’ The

advantages and drawbacks of coercion are approximately the same as those
mentioned for manipulation.


No discussion of resistance to change would be complete without a brief mention of the

politics of change. Because change invariably threatens the status quo, it inherently
implies political activity. Those who cause most problems, when a change is being
advocated in the way the university operates, typically are individuals high in the
university who have a lot to lose from change. Change, for them is perceived as a threat
to those skills and patterns. What if they are no longer the ones the university values?
This creates the potential for others in the university to gain power at their expense.

Politics suggests that the impetus for change is more likely to come from outside change
members who are new to the university, (and have less invested in the status quo), or
from leaders slightly removed from the main power structure. Those leaders who have
spent their entire careers with a single university and eventually achieve a senior position
in the hierarchy are often major impediments to change. Change, itself, is a very real
threat to their status and position. Yet they may be expected to implement changes to
demonstrate that they’re not merely caretakers. By acting as change members, they can
symbolically convey to various constituencies that they are on top of problems and
adapting to a dynamic environment. Of course, as you might guess, when forced to
introduce change, these long-time power holders tend to implement first-order changes.
Radical change is too threatening. Power struggles within the university will determine,
to a large degree, the speed and quantity of change. You should expect that long-time
staff members will be sources of resistance. This, incidentally, explains why some
governing councils and boards of trustees that recognize the imperative for the rapid
introduction of second-order change in their universities, and frequently turn to outside
candidates when looking for a new vice-chancellor.


Now we turn to one popular approach to managing change. Specifically, we discuss

ACTION RESEARCH. It refers to a change process based on the systematic collection
of data and then selection of a change action based on what the analyzed data indicate.
Their importance lies in providing a scientific methodology for managing planned change
the process of action research consists of five steps: diagnosis, analysis, feedback, action,
and evaluation.

 DIAGNOSIS The change agent, often a member of the senior management team,
begins by gathering information about problems, concerns, and needed changes from
members of the university. This diagnosis is analogous to the physician’s search to
find what specifically ails a patient. In action research, the change agent asks
questions, interviews individuals, reviews records, and listens to the concerns of staff
 ANALYSIS The information gathered during the diagnostic stage is then analyzed.
What problems do people key in on? What patterns do these problems seem to take?
The change agent synthesizes this information into primary concerns, problem areas,
and possible actions.
 FEEDBACK Action research includes extensive involvement of the change targets.
That is, the people who will be involved in any change programme must be actively
involved in determining what the problem is and participating in creating the
solution. So the third step is sharing with staff members, especially deans and heads
of departments, what has been found from steps one and two. The staff members,
with the help of the change agent, develop action plans for bringing about any needed
 ACTION Now the “action” part of action research is set in motion. The staff
members and the change agent carry out the specific actions to correct the problems
that have been identified.
 EVALUATION Finally, consistent with the scientific underpinnings of action
research, the change agent evaluates the effectiveness of the action plans. Using the
initial data gathered as a benchmark, any subsequent changes can be compared and

Research provides at least two specific benefits for an organization, such as a university.
First, its problem focused. The member of the senior management team objectively looks
for problems and the type of problem determines the type of change action. While this
may seem intuitively obvious, a lot of change activities aren’t done this way. Rather,
they’re solution centered. The change agent has a favourite solution and then seeks out
problems that his or her solution fits. Second, because action research so heavily involves
staff members and others in the process, resistance to change is reduced. In fact, once
members have actively participated in the feedback stage, the change process typically
takes on a momentum of its own. The members and those that have been involved
become an internal source of sustained pressure to bring about the change.

Makerere University’s ranking in Africa according to the much disputed but

significantly influential web metrics was very low. The VC realized the
importance of these rankings and the need for Makerere to rise in its ranking
to keep its competitive edge. He initiated a crusade to improve MUK
position/ranking among African universities (according to her vision!) on web-
metrics. The VC communicated with the faculty in charge of IT and the library
and paved a way to increase our web presence. This involved availing all
research on the web at faculty and university level. It called on academic staff
together with the School of Graduate Studies to spend time and resource to
make this possible in addition to declaring all departmental and individual
projects and research projects received. As the university ranking improved
over the months, more and more in the university community got involved in
uploading materials. This has improved public opinion about the university.

As a university leader, what have you instituted to move your university to
fulfill its mission and vision?


An important question we need to ask before concluding this part of the course on change
management is: “How can a university become more innovative?” While there is no
guaranteed formula, certain characteristics surface again and again when researchers
study innovative universities inside, and outside, of Africa. We’ve grouped them into
structural, cultural, and human resource categories. Leaders should consider introducing
these characteristics into their university if they want to create an innovative climate.
Before we look at these characteristics, however, let’s clarify what we mean by

We said change refers to making things different. Innovation is a more specialized kind of
change. Innovation is a new idea applied to initiating or improving a product, process, or
service. So all innovations involve change, but not all changes necessarily involve new
ideas or lead to significant improvements. Innovations in universities can range from
small improvements, such as planting trees around the outside of the university
administration building to such radical steps such as going into partnership with another
university to deliver certain programs together.

Structural variables have been the most studied potential source of innovation. A
comprehensive review of the structure – innovation relationship leads to the following
conclusions. First, long tenure by a vice-chancellor is associated with successful
innovation. Universities that cannot keep vice-chancellors for more than a year or two,
will not be places for innovation because those in charge do not have sufficient
knowledge and experience of the situation to implement much-needed changes. Second,
innovation is nurtured where there are ample resources. Having sufficient resources
allows a university to afford to purchase innovations, bear the cost of instituting
innovations, and absorb failures. Poor universities will always be struggling to make ends
meet. Third, communication is high in innovative universities. These universities are high
users of committees, task forces, an efficient intranet, and other mechanisms that
facilitate interaction across groups.

Innovative universities tend to have similar cultures. They encourage experimentation.

They reward both successes and failures. Unfortunately, in too many universities, people
are rewarded for the absence of failures rather than for the presence of successes. Such
cultures extinguish risk taking and innovation. People will suggest and try new ideas only

where they feel such behaviours exact no penalties. Vice-chancellors and senior
management staff in innovative universities recognize that failures are a natural by-
product of venturing into the unknown. They believe in the maxim: ‘It is better to have
tried and failed than never to have tried at all.’

Within the human resources category, we find that innovative universities actively
promote the training and development of staff members so that they keep up to date on
developments in university education e either by attending sessions or visiting other
universities, which have a high reputation for excellence. We want members who are
champions of change. Once a new idea is developed, idea champions actively and
enthusiastically promote the idea, build support, overcome resistance, and ensure that the
innovation is implemented. The evidence indicates that champions have common
personality characteristics:
 Extremely high self-confidence;
 Persistence;
 Energy, and
 Tendency to take risks.

Idea champions also display characteristics associated with transformational leadership.

They inspire and energize others with their vision of the potential of an innovation and
through their strong personal conviction in their mission. They are also good at gaining
the commitment of others to support their mission. In addition, idea champions have jobs
that provide considerable decision-making discretion. This autonomy helps them
introduce and implement innovations in universities.


A dynamic university is one that has developed the continuous capacity to adapt and
change. Just as individuals learn, so do universities. It is important that even universities
have to learn, whether they consciously choose to or not - it is a fundamental requirement
for their sustained existence.

Key Characteristics of a Dynamic University
We can sum up the basic characteristics of a dynamic university in the following way. It’s
a university where people put aside their old ways of thinking, learn to be open with each
other, understand how their university really works, form a plan or vision that everyone
can agree upon, and then work together to achieve that vision.

In order to make the above happen, three basic steps that need to be taken:
1) ESTABLISH A STRATEGY Vice-chancellors need to make explicit their
commitment to change, innovation, and continuous improvement.
reporting system, can be a serious impediment to learning. By flattening the structure,
eliminating or combining committees, and increasing the use of cross-functional
teams, interdependence is reinforced and boundaries between people are reduced.
3) RESHAPE THE UNIVERSITY’S CULTURE As noted earlier, dynamic
universities are characterized by risk taking, openness, and growth. University vice-
chancellors set the tone for the university’s culture both by what they say (strategy)
and what they do (behaviour). Vice-chancellors, as well as others in the senior
management team, need to demonstrate by their actions that taking risks and
admitting failures are desirable traits. That means rewarding people who take chances
and make mistakes. And university vice-chancellors need to stir things up and
encourage functional conflict. “The key to unlocking real openness at work,” says
one expert: “is to teach people to give up having to be in agreement. We think
agreement is so important. Who cares? You have to bring paradoxes, conflicts, and
dilemmas out in the open, so collectively we can be more intelligent than we can be


A number of change issues we’ve discussed are culture bound. To illustrate, let’s briefly
look at four questions:

1) Do people believe change is possible?

2) If it is possible, how long will it take to bring it about?
3) Does culture influence how change efforts will be implemented?
4) Do successful idea champions do things differently in different cultures?

Do people believe change is possible? Remember that cultures vary in terms of beliefs
about their ability to control their environment. In cultures where people believe that they
can dominate their environment, individuals will take a proactive view of change. In
other cultures, people see themselves as subjugated to their environment and thus will
tend to take a passive approach toward change.

If change is possible, how long will it take to bring it about? A culture’s time orientation
can help us answer this question. Societies that focus on the long term will demonstrate
considerable patience while waiting for positive outcomes from change efforts. In

societies with a short-term focus, people expect quick improvements and will seek
change programmes that promise fast results. Resistance to change is greater in some
cultures than in others. Resistance to change will be influenced by a society’s reliance on

Does culture influence how change efforts will be implemented? Power distance can help
with this issue. In high-power-distance cultures, change efforts will tend to be
autocratically implemented by the university leader. In contrast, low-power-distance
cultures value democratic methods.

Finally, do successful idea champions do things differently in different cultures? The

evidence indicates that the answer is “yes.” People in collectivist cultures, in contrast to
individualistic cultures, prefer appeals for cross-functional support for innovation efforts;
people in high-power-distance cultures prefer champions to work closely with those in
authority to approve innovative activities before work is conducted on them; and the
higher the uncertainty avoidance of a society, the more champions should work within the
university’s rules and procedures to develop the innovation.

These findings suggest that effective leaders will alter their university’s championing
strategies to reflect cultural values.


John P. Kotter, (Leading Change, 1996) has been observing this process for almost 30
years. What intrigues him is why some leaders are able to take these tools and methods
and get their organisation to change dramatically - while most do not. How many times
have we not seen somebody get very excited about some new tool? Yet two years later
there is no performance improvement at all. Often because most of the organisation has
rejected the change needed to make it happen.

When people need to make big changes significantly and effectively, Kotter finds that
there are generally eight basic things that must happen:
1) INSTILL A SENSE OF URGENCY Identifying existing or potential crises or
2) PICK A GOOD TEAM Assembling a strong guiding coalition with enough power
to lead the change effort. And make them work as a team, not a committee!
of purpose and direction. In less successful situations you generally find plans and
budgets, but no vision and strategy; or the strategies are so superficial that they have
no credibility.
4) COMMUNICATE As many people as possible need to hear the mandate for change
loud and clear, with messages sent out consistently and often. Forget the boring
memos that nobody reads! Try using videos, speeches, kick-off meetings, sessions in
small units, etc. Also important is the teaching of new behaviours by the example of
the guiding coalition

5) REMOVE OBSTACLES Get rid of anything blocking change, like bosses stuck in
the old ways or lack of information systems. Encourage risk-taking and non-
traditional ideas, activities, and actions. Empowerment is moving obstacles out of
peoples' way so they can make something happen, once they've got the vision clear in
their heads.
6) CHANGE FAST Little quick wins are essential for creating momentum and
providing sufficient credibility to pat the hard-working people on the back and to
diffuse the cynics. Remember to recognize and reward employees involved in the
7) KEEP ON CHANGING After change universities get rolling and have some wins,
they don't stop there. They go back and make wave after wave of other actions
necessary for long-term, significant change. Successful change leaders don't drop the
sense of urgency. On top of that, they are very systematic about figuring out all of the
pieces they need to have in place before they declare victory.
8) MAKE CHANGE STICK The last big step is nailing big change to the floor and
making sure it sticks. And the way things stick is through culture. If you can create a
totally new culture around some new way of managing, it will stay. It won't live on if
it is dependent on one boss or a couple of enthusiastic people who will eventually
move on.


1. “Resistance to change is an irrational response.” Do you agree or disagree?

2. Why is participation considered such an effective technique for lessening
resistance to change?
3. Why does change so frequently become a political issue in universities?
4. What characteristics of African culture hinder and encourage innovation?
5. In your experience, do you think that it is true to say that the majority of
universities in Uganda really are committed to the search for excellence? Justify
your answer with reasons!

Specific Objectives
In this final part of the module, we will explore ways to create humane,
caring and supportive organizational structure that can maintain the
commitment of staff, challenge them, and enable them to fulfill their role
in the university as effectively as possible.

According to the Hay Group, one of the world’s largest global management firms, “trust”
and “confidence” in managers are the single most reliable predictors of employee
satisfaction in an organization. Effective communication by managers in three critical
areas is, they say, the key to winning organizational trust and confidence:
 Helping employees understand the organization's overall
business strategy.
 Helping employees understand how they contribute to
achieving key business objectives.
 Sharing information with employees on both how the
organization is doing and how an employee's own division is
doing - relative to strategic business objectives.

So basically, you must be trustworthy and you have to be able to communicate a vision of
where you are going.

In crafting your strategic architecture, you must ensure that a critical mass of your staff
know and understand the direction being taken to avoid collapse. All staff at any time
should tell us where they are headed to and what their ROLES are in that process.

Therefore, unless a VC and his senior team can COMMUNICATE the vision, mission
and the mandates of the institutions to people within it- all people including support staff-
the university will have big problems.

In most universities, academics are talking and writing about INTERDISCIPLINARY/

TRANSDISCIPLINARY teaching and research but seldom is this practiced. They remain
anchored in their “territorial tribes” of History, Botany, and Microbiology etc without
getting to exploit the synergies that reside at the interstices of the disciplines. Often,
senior managers fail to see that collaboration between departments and faculties in the
production of knowledge optimizes utilization of resources such as skills and
competencies shared across the board.

But the key to success of such interdisciplinary teaching and research lies in the VCs and
his team- do they have the required communication skills to reach everybody with the
message for their consent? It is not just getting history staff and mathematics staff, for
example, working on a joint project - but getting academics into active exploration of
knowledge in the disciplines to create new knowledge. (See Michael Gibbons on “The
New Production of Knowledge”)

Again for this to succeed, the VC and his team must keep an inventory of skills and
competencies of all the staff in the university. Quite commonly, once recruited into a
university, one teaches for a life time in the discipline without moving anyone or caring
whether or not the individual could useful in another department. In this regard, staffs are
underutilized and by the time they leave, perhaps only 5% of their knowledge has been
exploited! At the same time universities are crying about shortage of academics.


The ability to predict which university, founded in Uganda over the last 20 years, will
eventually become a world-class institution known nationally and internationally for its
standard of education, its research and its role in the community, is more a matter of art
than a science.

Lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of those universities that have
emerged in the last 20 years in many parts of the developing world, and that continue to
operate and flourish:

 All these recently-founded universities, that can be considered successful, had at first a
very restricted number of leaders, often only one leader with followers. This person
generally had a vision and was aware of the fact that this vision was convincing enough
to attract and retain followers and supporters, even though he or she did not really know
all the details or the hows and whys of development. This vision usually translated into
a limited number of coherent and consistent objectives that, though ambitious, were
realistic. The visionaries who were successful were those who knew how to adapt to
changes without constantly modifying their strategy.
 These leaders were good communicators and knew how to deal with multiple
audiences, inspiring their followers while managing to keep very good relations with
donors and country authorities. Leaders of what would become successful Businesses
have often identified someone to serve as their right hand—someone who would be in
charge of administration and of transforming the vision into reality. This person would
prove crucial for maintaining accounts and showing results, and would be a person who
preferred working in the shadow of the visionary leader. It was often the mutual respect
between these two people that would ensure the success of the university.
 The new universities that proved to be real successes were those that learned how to use
the capital they obtained to become more effective and efficient, while simultaneously
becoming less dependent on external subsidies to cover their recurring costs. New
universities that will be able to survive are those that understand that the availability of

foreign assistance is eventually going to decrease and that a durable local university
should find other reliable sources of funds by other means.
 The universities that succeed over time are rarely those that grow initially at a very fast
pace. When trying to create sustainable institutions, it is sometimes necessary to start
off at moderate speed. Events can lead to unpleasant consequences for a university that
grows quickly, but they could lead to disastrous consequences for a university that
grows at an explosive pace. It is extremely difficult to grow rapidly while at the same
time strengthening the university. Slowdown in the institutional growth of a university
can be very useful if the leadership uses it to improve operations and make sure that
everybody is willing and able to follow.
 Another key element of university success is the treatment of staff and in particular of
new employees. Most new universities do not have sufficient resources to hire staff with
vast experience of the higher education sector. They need to rely on staff with less
experience, often on people straight from university themselves. To grow quickly, the
university must have in place a programme of recruitment and training for new staff that
will allow them to maintain quality services for their students while also maintaining or
improving the quality of their lecturing and teaching skills of their young staff.
 Universities can only succeed if they have several tools to ensure that staff and
leadership fulfill their responsibilities and do not use their position to gain undue
advantage. In a big university, some individuals will try to obtain advantages by
breaking rules. This is even truer in young universities where rules are not always well
defined and disseminated. It is thus fundamental that the university put in place control
mechanisms against abuses. Although it is common to see universities where some
members of the staff are rarely turning up for their classes, the worst abuses are those
committed by vice-chancellors and senior managers who, let things slide and don’t
bother to challenge certain bad behaviours of staff. When this happens, a culture of
‘who cares who comes to class’ soon spreads to all levels of the university.


To select promising universities does not mean choosing universities that are going to
grow as fast as possible during the next few years, to the detriment of their long-term
institutional viability. Rather, it means choosing universities that are going to be able to
grow, while at the same time laying a solid foundation and developing the capacity for
continued, sustainable growth even after the project ends. In the history of education,
people have repeatedly—and mistakenly—considered spectacular and temporary
successes to be breakthroughs. It is preferable to support institutions that grow at a less
spectacular but solid pace.

When analyzing a university, and how it measures up as an institution, one should avoid
getting lost in too many details and losing sight of the big picture. An institution must be
viewed and analyzed as a whole. Indeed, all universities have numerous weaknesses, but
also several strengths. It is the degree to which their strengths outweigh their weaknesses
that will determine the capacity of universities to become breakthroughs. The observer
must identify this capacity to find solutions to problems and overcome weaknesses.

And the observer must recognize that anything, even a virtue, pushed to the extreme often
becomes a defect. For example, too much democracy within a university risks slowing
down decision-making processes and, ultimately, can lead to paralysis. Not enough
democracy risks limiting the autonomy and creativity of staff and leadership. Not enough
control fosters bad habits and permits the abuse of power. Too much control increases the
administrative costs and slows down individual initiative. A successful university will be
able to strike a healthy balance that will allow it to adapt to both internal and external
pressures. That said, experience has shown that we cannot adopt or promote a single
solution across different contexts.


Assessing the organizational level of universities cannot be boiled down to mere

numbers. Any conclusions reached during an assessment or evaluation exercise are
merely indicative of a university’s potential. That said, there are certain indicators that
can tell us which way a university is going.

Experience shows that the key areas for assessment are:

1) Vision, Purpose, and Legal Structure
2) Governing Council
3) Funding/Resources
4) Management
5) Systems
6) Staff
7) Delivery Structure
8) Performance
9) Organizational Culture
10) Clients

Let us take each topic in turn and see what is entailed:

Vision is everything. A world-class university knows that it wants to become. A university that is
simply adding new faculties and starting new programmes each year, just because they see a
demand, but does not view recruiting competent staff and sustainability and scale as prerequisites,
is unlikely to become a world-class university. A world-class university is one that knows what it
can do well, and what it can’t do well. It has a strategic plan and knows where it wants to be in
five or ten year’s time. World-class universities are very aware of future options and what is
entailed in becoming all they believe they can be.

The role of the Governing Council s often underestimated during assessment exercises. An
excellent Governing Council can make a significant difference in terms of the institutional
performance of a university. A dysfunctional Council can be a real hindrance. Common problems

are having Councils comprising of a number of talented individuals who rarely attend meetings
and do not work effectively together. Often you can find members of such Councils who have
little understanding of higher education and the challenges facing universities in the 21 st Century.
For a university to be a success, it must have a Council who can provide direction, guidance and
insight on which way forward for the institution, without overstepping the boundaries and
attempting to micro-manage the it.

There is an enormous difference in commitment and performance between a l university that is
seeking funds to build on its core activities and one that, seeing funds are available, decides to
start new projects without any thought of the future. Universities that have a visionary founder (s)
who has put seed-money money into a university, and have a clear idea of how, at least, the
operational costs can be met through fees or scholarship funds, seem to be more likely to succeed
in the long-term. Those universities that are forever chasing grants simply to access outside
funding and are quick to accept new resources for something, in which they have little
experience, rarely succeed in the long-term.

Some say that finding the right person to be the vice-chancellor of a university is more than half
the work of setting out to become a world-class university. A good assessment of the style and
competence of the vice-chancellor is a vital glimpse into the future of a university. The ideal vice-
chancellor is someone open to new ideas and hungry to learn; someone who manages in a
participatory and decentralized style, who visits faculty’s s regularly, has learned from previous
institutional mistakes, and sees the importance of putting good administrative practices in place.
Dictatorial, “ivory-castle” types who are never seen around the campus have poor relations with
staff, and who are closed to suggestions are extremely unlikely to steer their university to success.

Systems in all universities are unlikely to be perfect, but attitudes toward systems are indicative
of their success or failure in the long-term sense. As a minimum, universities should have a staff
manual, that is updated each year; weekly senior management team meeting; monthly faculty
meetings; semester staff meetings; a budget and finance plan that are tracked monthly; regularly
maintained website; a timetable that is published before the start of the semester; examination
results that come out two week after the final exam is given; and a university prospectus that is
current and accurate. Without these basics things in place – and we are only talking about the
basics! - it is hard to envisage why the name ‘university’ should be on the front door of the

Staff are the heart of a university and the students primary contact. Their attitude often defines a
university’s public image. Universities that build staff loyalty through training and fair personnel
policies have a good chance of success. Signs of low morale are staff openly complaining about
management and procedures. This typically leads to poor performance.

The key to delivering quality education in all sectors of a university seems to be having a solid,
decentralized, faculty and department office system in place. Without such resources, and
resourceful people to run them, things can become very chaotic. World-class universities have
faculties and department heads that can provide immediate assistance to students seeking help,
competent leadership for those staff working there, and have the ability to perform their duties in

a quick and efficient manner. Heavily centralized universities where all management decisions
are made those in the main office are unlikely to become world class.

Organizational culture provides a rare glimmer of the future potential of a university. It is very
hard to change and therefore an assessment must try and understand it. For a university,
organizational culture includes attitude toward and openness about how things are moving
forward in the university and whether or not it is making any real difference in the lives of
students. Lack of basic attention to the needs of students is a sign that a university is more of
business than an educational institution. But even as a business it will eventually fail because the
customers (i.e. students) will get carried of being offered poor service and move elsewhere.

Universities that are on the right path in terms of effectiveness and efficiency are ones where the
organizations culture is that ‘students come first’. Everything that a university does should, in one
sense, be related to its core activity of being an institute of higher education. Those universities
that treat students as an inconvenience’, to say nothing of their staff, will never become a world-
class establishment.



Likely to be successful
 Clear vision of becoming a sustainable organisation and a strongly felt desire at all levels
of the institution to make this happen
 Visionary Founder (s)
 Higher education is core activity
 Clear commitment to treating students as ‘customers’
 Scale vision—reaching thousands

Unlikely to be successful
 Unclear educational focus influenced by funding available
 Multi-sectoral development
 Adding new “courses” without any real thought of who will teach them or how they can
be made sustainable
 Small project vision—reaching hundreds


Likely to be successful
 Council members regularly attend meetings and take their responsibilities seriously
 Council understands higher education or is “hungry” to learn
 Council comprises a broad range of professional people including women
 All Council members have firsthand experience of what the university does for people

Unlikely to be successful
 Council members have no understanding of higher education in the 21 st century
 Council has no professional people or few women
 “Trophy Council” of important people who rarely attend meetings and do not govern

 Most Council members have never seen what the university does for people

Likely to be Successful
 Strong vice-chancellor —”hungry” for new ideas
 Typical answer to a suggestion: “Interesting…we want to learn from the experiences of
other successful universities around the world”
 Transformational vice chancellor who articulates goals, builds an image, demonstrates
confidence and arouses motivation
 In a meeting with the vice-chancellor and the senior management team, all feel free to
speak their mind in a relaxed and constructive manner
 Vice-chancellor regularly sits down with Deans

Unlikely to be successful
 Weak vice-chancellor —”blinkered”
 Typical answer to a suggestion: “We’re different…….. our people are different…….this
university is different…..that would never work here”
 In a meeting with the vice-chancellor and the senior management team, the vice-
chancellor mostly speaks
 Vice-chancellor never visits the faculties and departments

Likely to be successful
 Clear policies and procedures in place and publicized.
 Effective and efficient use of communication
 Regular SMT, faculty and staff meetings and solidarity is strong

Unlikely to be successful
 No policies and procedures manuals in place, or manual and directives are ignored by
 Poor use of communication
 Few meeting at any level and solidarity is weak

Likely to be successful
 University builds up their number of full-time staff
 Extensive staff training
 Staff talk about management showing support for their work and are proud of their

Unlikely to be successful
 University uses mostly part-time staff hired from other universities
 Staff receive no training
 Staff openly complain about management and have little loyalty to the institution


Likely to be successful
 Clear, documented, and consistent office systems
 Quick delivery mechanisms for student access to services

Unlikely to be Successful
 Confused or inconsistently implemented office systems
 Highly centralized delivery structure out of main building
 Slow, laborious procedures for students to access to services, obtain results of
examinations, transcripts etc.


Likely to be Successful
 Openness about problems and how to resolve them
 Open and transparent culture, straight and consistent answers to simple questions from
staff at different levels of the university
 Learn from mistakes
 Student-responsive, externally focused culture that is aware of the importance of
providing good services delivery
 Gut feeling that this would be a great university to work with and that mutual trust and
respect would naturally develop

Unlikely to be successful
 Cover-up of problems at any level of the university
 Closed culture and/or lack of transparency, evasive answers to simple questions or
different answers to the same simple question by staff at various levels
 Repeat mistakes—”it’s our way”
 Internally focused culture with little idea of why the university was founded in the first
 Gut feeling that this would be a difficult university to work with


1. ‘The ability to predict which universities in Uganda will become world is more a
matter of art than a science’. Do you agree with this statement?
2. Make a summary of the criteria, which can be used to assess which are
universities, which we can term ‘promising ones’.
3. Which of the criteria listed in the session do you think need more attention within
the university sector?

Recommended Further Reading
Heather Eggins, Access and Equity: Comparative Perspectives. Institute for Education Policy
Research, Staffordshire University. (Ed.), 2010
Patrick Clancy and David D. Dill (Eds), The Research Mission of the University: Policy Reforms
and Institutional Response, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009
Jane Knight (Ed.), Financing Access and Equity in Higher Education, Ontario Institute for
Studies in Education/University of Toronto, Canada, 2009
R. Middlehurst, Leading Academics, Open University Press, 1993
W.G. Bowen, H.T., Shapiro, Universities and their Leadership, Princeton University Press, 1998
Allan Michael Hoffman, Randal W. Summers, Managing Colleges and Universities: Issues for
Leadership, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000
H.T. Shapiro, A Larger Sense of Purpose: Higher Education And Society, Princeton University
Press, 2010
J.R. Davis, Learning to Lead, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003
A. Goodall, Socrates In The Boardroom: Why Research Universities Should Be Led By Top
Scholars, Princeton University Press, 2005
J. Pounder, New Leadership and University Organisational Effectiveness: Exploring the
Relationship, Leadership and Organizational Development Journal, 22, pp. 281-290
J. Storey, Leadership In Organisations: Current Issues and Key Trends, Routledge, 2004