A distributed leadership change process model for higher education

Sandra Jones*, Marina Harvey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The higher education sector operates in an increasingly complex global environment that is placing it under considerable stress and resulting in widespread change to the operating context and leadership of higher education institutions. The outcome has been the increased likelihood of conflict between academics and senior leaders, presaging the need for more engaged and broader approach to leadership. Based on empirical research into the Australian university sector, this paper contends that a distributed leadership (DL) approach is appropriate for the higher education sector and offers value for supporting effective change. In acknowledging the paradigm change needed to implement a DL approach successfully, the authors present a process model to underpin the shift from a leader-centric to a DL approach. The Sustainable Enabling and Evaluating Reflective DL change process model presents a synthesis of how a systemic change to DL in higher education can occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-139
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Higher Education Policy and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • distributed leadership
  • leadership activity
  • paradigm change

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