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Perception gap: Academic leadership styles in Maldivian higher education institutes

Aishath Waheeda, Fathmath Nishan

Article ID: 2153
Vol 9, Issue 3, 2024, Article identifier:

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Leadership stems from recognition and acceptance, surpassing the mere reliance on their title. Research indicates varying perceptions of relationship values between leaders and followers. A leader’s crucial awareness of these differences prevents harm to the institution through disagreements that expose poor style and self-knowledge. This study examines the perception difference of deans’ leadership styles in Maldives higher education institutes using self-rating and their lecturers’ perceptions using followers rating. In this study, a sequential explanatory mixed-method design was used. The first phase collected data via surveys from deans and lecturers (N = 190) from nine different HEI, with SPSS used for analysis. The second phase included qualitative interviews with deans and lecturers (N = 21), which were evaluated using template analysis. The independent sample t-test was used to assess the difference in averages between two independent groups, leaders and lecturers. According to the data, there was a slight statistically significant difference between deans’ self-assessments of their own current leadership styles and lecturers’ ratings of their leaders’ existing leadership styles. On the other side, it was discovered that both leaders and lecturers like the same leadership approaches. The findings of this research study suggest institutes to focus on developing academic deans’ leadership styles based on followers’ perception. Leadership measurement should consider both leaders’ and subordinates’ perceptions to avoid flawed conclusions. Also, this study calls for academic deans to reflect on their leadership, acknowledge limitations, and engage in developmental activities for growth.


deans; higher education; leadership development; perception difference

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