Adaptive Leadership in Higher Education: Complexity, Diversity, and Inclusion
School of Education, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
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In this study, I framed diversity as a complex, dynamic change and explored relationships among complexity-leadership theory (CLT) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In this explanatory, sequential, mixed-methods study, I examined differences in entrepreneurial and operational leadership interactions, as defined by CLT, based on perceived inclusion levels and on the racial majority of academic departments in higher education, reported by a convenience sample of 393 faculty members at U.S. colleges and universities. I found that both entrepreneurial and operational leadership interactions were statistically significantly higher in departments with high perceived inclusion. Operational leadership interactions were also statistically significantly higher in departments where less than half the members were White. I found no statistical difference in entrepreneurial leadership interactions based on department racial majority. These findings provide important considerations for leadership development scholarship and practitioners as well as DEI professionals working to equip people to lead, adapt, and navigate in a dynamic, complex world.
Complexity Leadership Theory