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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Academic Game Changers: A Study of the Social Networking Strategies of Leaders Guiding Disruptive Innovations in Higher Education
by Langteau, Paula T., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2017, 235; 10288526
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines the internal and external networking strategies of leaders furthering potentially disruptive innovations in higher education. The goal of the research was to understand specifically what types of networks they develop, activate, and leverage; the functions of those networks; and the ways they engage them to further their innovation.

A review of current literature on Social Network Analysis supports the research and provided a set of strategies for examination within the networked relationships. The research questions were structured to explore the leaders’—and, by extension, the leaders’ team members’—outreach to a variety of types of networks, for a variety of functions, and by utilizing specific outreach strategies.

Leaders at two different types of institutions, a private comprehensive and a public cooperative extension, respectively, were the focus of this dual-site, qualitative interview study. The findings emerged out of the site visits to the primary innovation site campuses, personal interviews, and review of relevant available documents and media coverage. The difference in sites and innovations helped to isolate the leadership strategies as the focus of the study rather than the innovation or the type of institution. While the leaders and the innovations they developed differed by site, several common themes emerged, and the study uncovered some important revelations and implications for both the literature and leaders in practice today. For example, the findings demonstrated the significance of developing and activating networks to serve the goal of the innovations (over the goals of the network), the importance of building open networks with diverse ties, and the balance of accountability and trust at play within structurally formal and informal relationships. Ultimately, by identifying and demonstrating how these leaders leveraged networks to attempt to bring about substantive change, the research provides visibility to, and greater understanding of, networking strategies, which future leaders might consider implementing, consciously and deliberately, as market forces and evolving needs come to require adjustments to their packaging and delivery of instructional models into the future.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Eckel, Peter
Commitee: Finley, Joni, Kezar, Adrianna
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Management
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Educational leadership, Higher education
Keywords: Disruptive, Innovation, Leaders, Networking, Social
Publication Number: 10288526
ISBN: 978-0-355-23895-2
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