Ledarskapande i akademin Om prefekters diskursiva identitetsutveckling

Detta är en avhandling från Umeå : Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet

Sammanfattning: This is a dissertation on education that focuses on leadership making at the departmental level of higher education. The aim of this dissertation is to generate knowledge about the making of leadership, seen as identity development in the discourse on academic leadership. This by studying the logic and tensions of discourse, what leadership identities the discourse expresses at different times and by describing an understanding of different processes of leadership identity development. The frame of reference in this study is based on a relationistic and non-dualistic theoretical framework, which suggests that discourse theory can help us understand the reality as discursive and the view on leadership in higher education as socially constructed through talk and other actions within a specific discourse. Two empirical studies were performed by making interviews and then a multivariate correspondence analysis of the nodes (symbolic areas of talk) that the informants attached significance were carried out. Study I focuses on the discourse on academic leadership expressed by 15 departmental heads at five occasions, from the time where the heads were novices to a time four years later when they were more experienced. These interviews were used for the construction of three empirically based study objects; the novice discourse, the problem discourse and the experience discourse. Study II was conducted in four case departments. Its aim was to shed light on the discourse on academic leadership from the point of view of staff members, rather than from that of departmental heads themselves. Totally, in these four departments, 33 interviews with different categories of staff members were performed. The empirically based study object was here the staff members’ discourse. Each discourse construction may be said to be built up by the discourse episteme, subepisteme and subject positions and a relational analysis of the discourse structure have been used to describe the discourse’s logic and tensions and its identity expressions. By contrasting the discourse constructions over time also identity development was illuminated. For study I, one of the aspects of the logic of discourse on academic leadership is that in the course of time it goes from being a heterogeneous discourse with only a few common episteme nodes towards being a more homogeneous, unified and coherent discourse with a larger common core. The shared leadership identity base is thereby made more extensive. Six central symbolic areas of talk recur in similar ways at the three points of time for the analysis of study I: the handling of the economy, staff management (HRM), laws, ordinances and rules for the headship, the heavy workload and time shortage, delegation of tasks and responsibilities and support through leadership training and education. Examples of three relatively common identity development processes in the discourse on academic leadership are: 1) a vague development process where a non-head of department leadership identity is strong over time, 2) a process of development from an uncertain and fuzzy to a positive and obvious manager identity, and 3) a process of development from an uncertain and fuzzy to a gender-related and problem-orientated leadership identity. Thus the main result of the studies is the visualisation of the gender segregation process that the discourse makes possible and the different ways in which academic leadership is expressed in the male-dominated versus the female-dominated positions. The discourse logic for staff members in study II also shows a partly gender-separated discourse. On the other hand, there are not much content similarities, through nodes, in the gender-separated relational structure in the sense that the female staff/heads and the male staff/heads in both studies express similar symbolic areas of talk.