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Title: Verbindingen versterken. Een actieonderzoek naar de ontwikkeling van excellente onderwijsteams in een academie van een hogeschool.
Authors: Felius, J van
Keywords: loosely coupled organizations
universities of applied sciences
team excellence
action research
distributed leadership
shared leadership
Issue Date: 19-Jan-2016
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: Universal ideas about a global management script are spreading in Universities of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands, to meet increasing pressure from government and society for delivering excellent education results. Using action research from an insider perspective, this study investigates the perceived influence of some interventions to compensate for loose couplings between management and teaching staff in an academy of a Dutch University of Applied Sciences. Three management strategies to compensate for loose couplings were investigated: shared values, focused attention and enhanced leadership. The study was done using a constructivist approach in three cycles of activities. The first intervention was a Large Group Intervention, based on the paradigm of Whole Scale Change. The complete education team was brought together to reflect on their values, using a dialogue game. The second intervention was the introduction of a planning instrument in each sub-team, to stimulate working according to the plan-do-check-act cycle and to create a quality culture. During the research period, it appeared that team leadership was of crucial importance. In the third cycle, consultation groups were held to investigate preferred leadership frames. The outcomes indicate that loose couplings between management and coordinators in the teams were tightened by using the planning instrument. The coordinator role in each sub-team appeared to be important. Couplings between coordinators and teaching staff can be further improved by stimulating an open dialogue in each sub-team about teaching quality and results, to achieve a quality culture. The team leader should primarily provide individualized attention to every staff member and promote cooperation. A hierarchical management style is not appreciated. The team leader should also provide inspiration to the teaching staff to help them to feel more connected to the overall vision and goals of the organization. At the same time, the team leader should provide structure and clarity about the goals to achieve on individual, team and organizational level. The team leader should facilitate, integrate, create involvement and empowerment. The ‘ideal’ team leader in an education team is someone who is able to strike a balance between different leadership frames and achieve shared and distributed leadership. This study concludes that the interventions have contributed to cooperation of teaching staff in result-oriented teams. The concept of team excellence is not entirely clear. It is recommended that, to achieve excellence, both a quality culture and a quality structure are needed and should be facilitated. To arrive at distributed and shared leadership, teaching staff may need formal training to increase self-leadership first. If teachers are spontaneously taking up more leadership tasks, this will result in self-leading teams in time. Further qualitative research could investigate leadership practices, which are processes to give space and take leadership roles, based on common values and team membership.
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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