South African higher education institutions as learning organisations : a leadership process model

Van der Westhuizen, André Jeánne (2002)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:Reform is one of the most controversial elements in higher education and has therefore attracted much attention from within the academic community and from outside. The present higher education scene is characterised by demands for transformation and change, not only in South Africa but in Africa and the developed countries as well. The pressures and demands for change come from outside the field of higher education as well as from within. Some countries have been involved in the process of change and transformation for a period of over thirty years, while others have just embarked on the route or still have to start the change process. The post-apartheid era has marked an era of profound change for South African higher education institutions with concomitant legislation to ensure the change process. If effective and successful transformation of higher education institutions and systems can take place in South Africa with new models of transformation and the effective integration of cultures and openness to change at all institutional levels, these models could be instructive not only to Africa but also to the rest of the world and to academic life universally. However, the demands for change worldwide indicates not only towards new legislation but also towards flexible approaches and new forms of institutional structures and leadership to accommodate the significant, rapid and fundamental changes taking place in higher education and the realisation that institutions of the future will be different from those of the past and the present. In this study the influence of organisational models are used to establish a conceptual framework towards the development of learning organisations. The study reflects on how these new types of organisations will influence higher education institutions as organisations. It also considers what will be expected of higher education institutions to become learning organisations. Learning organisations have special qualities and higher education institutions or teaching institutions do not automatically qualify as learning organisations. The promise of the new millennium provides the higher educationcommunity with the opportunity to take stock of their position and to find out if they possess the necessary skills and have the enabling structures to accommodate a new world. Becoming a learning organisation involves more than a paradigm shift for higher education institutions. It requires a revolution, a quantum leap towards individual recognition and growth, leadership development and empowerment and institutional learning. The Academic 'Process Leadership' Super structure provides the space, structure and process for higher education organisations to re-organise and re-create itself to fit the demands of a new world. An analysis of leadership, leadership development and institutional change in higher education institutions brought to the fore that these institutions have not been effective in providing programmes that develop leaders because they simply do not know what is necessary for effective leadership development. Institutions do not have an in-depth understanding of leadership and they have not enculturated leadership development as a core aspect and activity in higher education institutions. There is grave concern regarding the development of 'soft' people skills. The qualitative research investigation into the process of change towards learning organisations in higher education institutions indicate that there are profound problems in the areas of leadership, leadership development, people management and satisfaction, knowledge management and learning dynamics. These areas form the core aspects within the new structures, that of learning organisations. The insights gained from the process analysis of five higher education institutions indicate that the implementation of the academic leadership model as described in the study will provide individual leaders with the necessary leadership skills to fulfill their roles in the recreated empowered institutions. This process of leadership development, as indicated in the study, could enable institutions to become learning organisations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING:Die huidige konteks van hoer onderwys dui daarop dat verandering een van die belangrikste, maar ook mees kontroversiele aspekte aangaande die studieveld is. Die hoeronderwysomgewing asook hoeronderwysinstellings verkeer onder geweldige druk van beide binne en buite die akademiese gemeenskap om te verander. 'n Analise van die huidige stand van sake en konteks van hoeronderwysinstellings dui daarop dat verandering nie net in Suid-Afrika 'n faktor is en baie aandag geniet nie, maar dat Afrika sowel as die ontwikkelde lande ook onder geweldige druk verkeer om te transformeer. Sommige lande is al vir meer as dertig jaar betrokke by die proses van verandering. Dit wil egter voorkom dat sommige van die ander lande Of nog glad nie begin het nie 6f pas begin het met die proses van verandering en transformasie. Die tydperk na 1994 en die oorgang na 'n nuwe demokratiese regenng m Suid- Afrika was ook die begin van dramatiese verandering in die Suid-Afrikaanse hoeronderwysomgewing. Die kwessie van verandering is nie net in sekere nasionale beleidsdokumente aangespreek nie, maar ook in meegaande wetgewing. Indien Suid-Afrikaanse hoeronderwysinstellings in staat sou wees om nuwe modelle te kan akkommodeer en te kan verwesenlik terwyl hulle besig is met die transformasieen veranderingsproses, kan hierdie modelle van nut en van waarde wees, nie net vir Afrika nie, maar ook vir die ontwikkelde wereld en die internasionale hoeronderwysgemeenskap. Nuwe strukture en modelle kan ongelukkig nie net deur wetgewing daargestel word nie. Instellings sal toeganklik moet wees vir moontlike nuwe vorms van leierskap, leierskapsontwikkeling en die konsep van veranderde strukture om sodoende te kan aanpas by die eise van 'n voortdurend veranderende wereld en die geweldige impak wat verandering op hoeronderwysinstellings het. Hoeronderwysinstellings sal moet besef dat instansies wat op die toekoms gerig word nie kan vashou aan ou uitgediendemodelle nie. Toekomsgerigte modelle verskil van die huidige vorms, sowel as die van die verlede. Die invloed van organisasiemodelle op hoeronderwysinstellings verskaf konseptuele verwysingsraamwerke vir die ontwikkeling van nuwe begrippe en konsepte. Die konsepte help om rigting aan te dui en te bepaal wat van instansies verwag word om sodoende te kan verander na lerende organisasies. Dit is belangrik om kennis te neem dat lerende organisasies spesifieke eienskappe het en dat hoeronderwysinstellings nie sonder meer gereken en geklassifiseer kan word as lerende organisasies nie. Hierdie nuwe vorm van organisasiestruktuur sal 'n fundamentele invloed he op institusionele prosesse asook op die manier waarop instellings in die toekoms bedryf sal word. In die nuwe millennium sal hierdie paradigmaskuif die geleentheid aan hoeronderwysinstellings voorsien om nie net revolusioner te verander nie maar ook om 'n kwantumsprong te maak na die belangrike mens- en leervaardighede. Hierdie vaardighede is nie net noodsaaklik vir die ontwikkeling om 'n lerende organisasie te word nie, dit maak ook die kern uit van hierdie nuwe organlsaSles. Die proses van akademiese leierskap en leierskapsontwikkeling, soos wat voorgestel word in die model van die Akademiese Leierskapsproses Superstruktuur sal aan instellings die geleentheid bied om die noodsaaklike leierskapsvaardighede te ontwikkel. Dit sal ook die kreatiewe en innoverende omgewing skep wat dit vir hierdie soort organisasie strukture moontlik sal maak om nuut te kan ontwikkel en sodoende in staat sal stel om te kan herorganiseer binne 'n konteks van groter aanpasbaarheid. Hierdie kwalitatiewe studie en navorsingsanalise ten opsigte van leierskap, leierskapsontwikkeling en die proses van verandering en transformasie het aangedui dat hoeronderwysinstellings in Suid-Afrika nie effektief ontwikkel ten einde lerende organisasies te word nie. Die ondersoek dui daarop dat instellings nie die onderliggende elemente van die begrip "leierskap" verstaan nie. Leierskap en leierskapsontwikkeling maak tans nie deel uit van die huidige institusionele kultuur nie.

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