Academic journal article College and University

A Qualitative Exploration of Perspectives on the Management and LEADERSHIP ROLES OF THE REGISTRAR

Academic journal article College and University

A Qualitative Exploration of Perspectives on the Management and LEADERSHIP ROLES OF THE REGISTRAR

Article excerpt

Higher education is in a state of transition and uncertainty. Multiple drivers of change have emerged, including shifts in student demographics, advances in technology and globalization, challenges to the traditional model of higher education, and increases in public demand for accountability (Aud et al. 2013; Bcrdahl, Altbach and Gumport 2011; Dew 2012). News reports and opinion pieces on the value and future of higher education are common, and the federal government is devoting considerable attention to issues of higher education funding and quality (Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance 2011, McKeown-Moak 2013, Rhodes 2012). Against this backdrop, individual higher education institutions are striving to meet current de- mands even as they plan for an uncertain future. In order to do so, institutions must locate, train, and retain talented individuals in key administrative positions. These administrators need a variety of skills so they can be nimble and effective in responding to the changing context of higher education (Berdahl, Altbach and Gumport 2.011; Bryman Z007; Rosser Z004; Settoon and Wyld Z004).

Traditionally, the role of leader and change agent within higher education has been held by senior-level administrators. However, as changes redefine the higher education environment, the definitions and responsibilities of individual positions are being altered. Many mid-level administrators now are being expected to assume increasing leadership responsibilities (Boerner zon, Clements Z013, David zoio, Filan and Seagren Z003, Fuggazzotto Z009, Rosser Z004). The registrar is a mid-level administrator whose role is being transformed. Today, the registrar is viewed as a campus leader and change agent (Lauren zoo 6), a key player at the hub of a complex academic system who serves an important role within the academic governance system (Braz zoiz, Schipporeit zoo6).


The purpose of this study was to describe the management and leadership role of the higher education registrar and the skills needed to fulfill that role, as perceived by registrars, senior-level administrators, and faculty leaders. This qualitative study involved interviews with eighteen participants from private, four-year higher education institutions in California.


Interaction between management and leadership has been the subject of extensive study and discussion (Carroll and Levy zoo8, Clements Z013, Gardner 1990, Kotter 1990, Kotterman zoo6, Kumle and Kelly zoo6, Northouse Z013, Toor and Ofori zoo8, Yukl and Lepsinger Z005). Management and leadership have many similarities; both involve the direction of human resources to accomplish a particular goal. However, scholars have sought to define the concepts and explore the relationship between the two roles. For the purposes of this study, management is defined as using resources to achieve organizational goals through planning, organizing, and controlling; leadership is defined as influencing people to achieve organizational goals through visioning, aligning, and motivating (Daft zoiz, Kotter 1990, Northouse Z013).

In his foundational work regarding this topic, Kotter (1990) states that the fundamental difference between management and leadership is the difference in focus: management focuses on order and consistency whereas leadership focuses on movement and change. Kotter (1990) also argues that one individual can function as both manager and leader. In fact, the complexity of the modern environment calls for an increasing number of manager-leaders.

Many additional researchers agree with the premise that one individual can serve as both manager and leader (Clements Z013, Gardner 1990, Toor zon, Yukl and Lepsinger Z005); the call for leadership by managers at multiple levels within organizations continue to increase (Clements Z013, Northouse Z013). The literature points to the need to continue exploring the ways in which management and leadership intersect and integrate in administrative positions, including those that are mid-level. …

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