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Global leadership in higher education : A case study on the competences to effectively lead international teams in higher education

Arends, D. (2017) Global leadership in higher education : A case study on the competences to effectively lead international teams in higher education.

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Abstract:This research aims to understand which competences are most effective to lead international teams in higher education institutions. The literature on global leadership forms the basis of this study. Global leadership refers to the process of influencing the thinking, attitudes and behaviors of an international community to work together towards a common vision and common goals. Those universal qualities that enable individuals to perform this job, are called global leadership competences. There are five dimensions of global leadership competences identified in this study. The first dimension, Global academic expertise, refers to the leaders’ ability to understand and deal with the complexity of the international academic environment. The second dimension, Global team building, refers to the ability to build teams effectively in global contexts. The third dimension, Visioning, refers to the ability to vision where the institution and the team should go and the capability to motivate others to strive to achieve that vision. The fourth dimension, Cross-cultural relationship skills, refers to the ability to develop and maintain interpersonal relationships in cross-cultural contexts. The last dimension, Cognitive orientation, refers to the ability to change the own thinking and behavior depending on the circumstance. An explorative single case study performed in a University in the east of the Netherlands explored several competences and practices that leaders possess and use to effectively lead international teams. In-depth interviews were held with 20 managers of the most internationally diverse teams of the university and document analysis added further data. The research shows that team leaders possess several competences that can be categorized to one of the above mentioned dimensions of global competence. Also related practices were identified that support a specific competence. An interesting insight of this study is the fact that the global competence development in leaders of international teams in higher education institutions follows a bottom-up approach. Working in the scientific field requires an academic to be globally oriented. Therefore, team leaders of international teams in higher education institutions consider working in an international scientific environment as something natural. To deal with the international and intercultural environment effectively, team leaders have developed their own competences without a leading (institutional) vision behind it. This insight suggests that in higher education institutions, there is less priority for profiling necessary human resources and required competences of global leaders needed to fulfill the specific job. This study contributes to science by expanding the literature, since global leadership has so far never been studied in the setting of a higher education institutions. The results of this study reveal the competences and practices leaders owe and use to effectively lead international teams in higher education institutions. The practical implications mainly focus on the role of HRM in the process of competence development in global leaders in higher education institutions.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/74286
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