n South African Journal of Higher Education - Women leaders' construction of leadership and management of the academic department

Volume 25, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Research on women in leadership has received growing attention in recent years. But not enough studies have investigated the way women construct leadership and management of the academic department. This article reports on the findings of an inquiry into the experiences of women heads of academic departments (HoDs) at universities in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Data were collected by means of a survey questionnaire, and statistical analyses were conducted to determine frequency distributions and mean values on the perceptions of the women on leadership and management issues. Findings indicate that female leadership is characterized by strong communication and interpersonal skills; information and power-sharing; professionalism and integrity; servant leadership; participatory, collaborative, androgynous and transformational leadership styles. These findings illuminate in particular, women's ways of leading, and provide a basis for further research into how these ways can be optimally used for the benefit of academic departments.

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