Academic Leadership in a Private University: An Iranian Case Study

  •  Fatemeh Hamidifar    
  •  Mansoureh Ebrahimi    


This study explores effective academic leadership as well as hindrances within Iran’s private higher educational institutions. The author employed a qualitative approach that utilized purposive sampling to collect and analyze data. Findings were categorized into three classes comprising the (i) setting of direction, (ii) organizational and (iii) staff development at three administrative levels: central office, branch office and faculty personnel. Obstacles confronting effective academic leadership were identified as (i) centralization of power; (ii) bureaucratic hierarchy; (iii) budgetary restraints; (iv) ineffective interaction including ineffectual communications as well as social, political and cultural interventions; and (v) unqualified staffing policies that eschewed meritocracy. This study reveals that the functional purview of an effective academic leader is to drive an institution’s vision forward towards achievement and define its mission and objectives. Moreover, it signifies an indispensable need for academic leadership development programs that incorporate, protect and support scientific management skills based on sound moral values, mutually established trust, collegial respect, and the application of transactional cum transformational governance methods in teaching, learning and research.

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