Regional Universities & Regional Development:Leadership transcending the HE ‘Flatlands’<br />Dr. Luke van der Laan<br />University of Southern Queensland<br />
‘Post-normal times for Regional HE’ <br />Leadership imperative in HE to transcend dominant short-term paradigms and open up creative emergence in regional universities that will impact regional development.<br />$1.5 billion direct economic contribution <br />(times 3 indirect and induced) (Rolfe etal, 2008)<br />Post-normal times need post-normal capabilities in HE<br />Imperative of futures management for a future-orientated environment<br />Used Florax1992, cited in GieseckeJa & Madden JR, 2006 model for economic impact studies of university expenditure<br />
Sustainability<br />Ability of systems and organizations to continue indefinitely while consistently exercising provident care (Senge et al, 2006)<br />Common counter-intuitive responses to the future<br />Reductionist thinking to make sense of complexity? <br />Short-termism to manage complexity?<br />“you will realise that you cannot reduce your risk by simply letting the long term take care of itself … for in complex systems, even doing nothing could have escalating consequences” (Stacey 1992) <br />
Flatlands – Higher Educational Futures<br />‘Flatlands’<br />Reductionist frameworks for thinking about the future in HE <br />confounded by regulatory inconsistency and the changing nature of knowledge $’s<br />Implication: <br />Insufficiently understood and problematised change.<br />Technology-LED paradigms remaining dominant.<br />Consequence:<br />Constrained sustainable development: limited foresight / strategic thinking / strategy.<br />
Flatlands: Higher Education Futures<br />Possible examples of constrained strategic thinking:<br />‘Technology led’ as opposed to technology enabled<br />‘Universal Connectedness’ not really connected<br />‘Past Success’ breeding failure<br />‘The’ future of education as opposed to innovative alternatives<br /> ‘Dominant Approaches’ to education as espoused by contextually maligned LOUD opinion<br />Continued reliance on government funding as primary source of revenue in a context where this WILL reduce<br />‘Generation Theory’ based research being dominant driver<br />‘Language / Cultural’ dominance<br />The market is limited! 165 million HE learners by 2020?<br />
Why the research?<br />“There is an ‘agony’ in HE leaders to be strategic” (Recent comment from HE Senior Leader)<br />More than 80% of senior executives in Australia acknowledge strategic thinking to be their greatest challenge (Bonn, 2008) (and evidence of the same in other parts of the world) <br />Regional economies / Regional development is closely linked to ‘substantial contribution’ by regional universities (Rolfe et al. 2008) <br />Leadership imperative to develop foresight and strategic thinking capabilities in regional universities in order to enhance strategy and sustainable development<br />
‘Triple-V Leadership’ Imperative (van der Laan, 2011)<br />Need for broader preferred viable futures for regional universities due to ‘post-normal’ times in the sector (eg. de-regulation / privatisation / competition / internationalisation / cyber-age,…)<br />… To make strategic thinking more visible and strategy more valuable.<br />ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ENABLED BY LEADERS<br />
NEED<br />Leaders that can activate the process develop the university’s capability to have;<br />Future Orientated Thinking (to contextualise)<br />Foresight capabilities (to visualise)<br />Strategic Thinking capability (to strategise)<br />IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE;<br />Valuable Strategic Capabilities in regional universities – by developing a critical mass of these capabilities amongst strategy-level leaders in the university<br />
Why this research?<br /><ul><li>Validate the findings of previous research using mixed methods and advanced statistical analysis modelling in the HE context.
Identify the foresight / strategic thinking / strategy mode profile for regional universities in Queensland.
Provide recommendations and suggest interventions to address any gaps.</li></li></ul><li>Foresight / Strategic Thinking<br />Previous research:<br />Investigation of relationship between individual foresight, strategic thinking and strategy.<br />Structural Equation Modelling (SEM)<br />101 CEOs (34%), 110 Senior Managers (37%) of large enterprises.<br />
Implications of Previous Research<br />Rational / transactive strategic modes are likely to suppress the generative / creative strategic thinking of its leadership.<br />Those elements of strategic thinking that are creative, innovative, time-orientated, ambiguous and yielding greater levels of emergent strategy are suppressed (-.25 correlation in SEM model) <br />Consequences:<br />Innovation / creative emergence is less likely.<br />Available human capabilities are limited.<br />Organisational strategy remains static and directive.<br />
Leadership Model for Innovation in HE<br />Significant empirical evidence suggests importance of foresight and strategic thinking in facilitating sound strategy (generative / creative / innovative / emergent) <br />Plus: need to transcend ‘flatlands’ of prevailing paradigms.<br />Requires a leadership model that enables sound strategy in mapping sustainable HE futures.<br />
Strategy formulation mode</li></ul>(Note all instruments have previously been assessed as having high validity and reliability)<br />Qualitative:<br /><ul><li>Causal Layered Analysis of futures thinking