The Leadership Preferences of Women Leaders Working in Higher Education
Keywords:women, leaders, academia, leadership, South Africa, education, mindfulness, self-perceptions, spirituality
The purpose of this study was to explore the emic concepts and self-perceptions of leadership of women working in South African Higher Education institutions (HEIs). The study uses a phenomenological-hermeneutical research approach and qualitative methods to analyse twenty-three semi-structured interviews and data from observations in organizations.
Findings show that women in HEIs in South Africa prefer associating leadership with certain characteristics which correspond to their core values of human existence. These core values are seen to influence the actions of women in leadership positions in HEIs. Based on their self-perceptions, women leaders use mindfulness which is characterized by various self-competencies, defined attitudes, spirituality at work and certain management practices. However, women leaders also feel that their mindful practices seem to be misunderstood in a highly competitive HEI environment in South Africa.
Adhikari, M. (2005). Not white enough, not black enough: Racial identity in the South African Coloured community. Cape Town, South Africa: Double Storey Books.
Alexander, L.L., LaRosa, J.H., Bader, H., Garfield, S., & Alexander, W.J. (2014). New Dimensions in Women’s Health. 6th edition. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Amanatullah, E. T., & Morris, M. W. (2010). Negotiating gender roles: Gender differences in assertive negotiating are mediated by women’s fear of backlash and attenuated when negotiating on behalf of others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 256–257.
Amos, T.L. (2012). The dynamics of leadership. In D. Hellriegel, J. Slocum, S.E. Jackson, L. Louw, G., Staude, T.L., Amos, H.B., Klopper, M.J., Louw T.F.J., Oosthuizen, S., Perks, & S. Zindiye (2012). Management. 4th South African edition (pp. 370-401). Cape Town: Oxford University Press Southern Africa.
Ando, M., Natsume, T., Kukihara, H., Shibata, H., & Ito, S. (2011). Efficacy of mindfulness-based meditation therapy on the sense of coherence and mental health of nurses. Health, 3, 118–122. doi: 10.4236/health.2011.32022
Baer, R.A. (2003). Mindfulness Training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 125-143.
Baxter, J. (2012). Feminist research. The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. 17, 107–116.
Beechler, S., & Javidan, M. (2007). Leading with a global mindset. In M. Javidan, R. M. Steers, & M. A. Hitt (Eds.), The global mindset (pp. 131-169). New York: Elsevier.
Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2005). Resonant Leadership. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Brown, K., & Ryan, R. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822–848.
Cashwell, C. S., Paige Bentley, D., & Bigbee, A. (2007). Spirituality and counselor wellness. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development, 46, 66–81.
Christopher, J. C., Chrisman, J. A., Trotter-Mathison, M. J., Schure, M. B., Dahlen, P., & Christopher, S. B. (2011). Perceptions of long-term influence of mindfulness training on counselors and psychotherapists: A qualitative inquiry. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 51, 318–349.
Collis, J. & Hussey, R. (2003). Business research: A practical guide for undergraduate and postgraduate students (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillian.
Darkwah, A. (2007). Work as a duty and as a joy: Understanding the role of work in the lives of Ghanaian female traders of global consumer items. In Harley, S. (Ed.), Women’s Labor in the Global Economy: Speaking in Multiple Voices. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Department of Labour (1998). Employment Equity Act, No. 55 of 1998. Retrieved from http://www.labour.gov.za
Dierendonck, v. D. (2010). Servant leadership: a review and synthesis. Journal of Management, 37, 1228-1261.
Fechler, B. (2012). Was Mediation zur Burnout-Bewältigung beizutragen hätte. In S. Rapp (ed.), Mediation. Bd. 1 Tagungsband der ersten gemeinsamen Jahrestagung der Mediationsverbände BM, BMWA und BAFM in Ludwigsburg, 16./17. November 2012. Retrieved from http://rg-muenchen.bmev.de/fileadmin/user_upload/rg-muenchen/downloads/Bernd_Fechler_Mediation_und_Burnout_Ludwigsburg_2012_121002.pdf
Goetz, A.M., & Hassim, S. (2003). No Shortcuts to Power. London: Zed.
Good, G.E., & Sherrod, N.B. (2001). The psychology of men and masculinity: Research status and future directions. In R.K. Unger (Ed.), Handbook of the psychology of women and gender (pp. 201-214). New York, NY: Wiley.
Gouws, A. (2008). Obstacles for women in leadership positions: A case of South Africa, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 34, 21–27.
Gummesson, D. E. (2000). Qualitative methods in management research. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Hable-Hafenbrädl, M. (2013). Mediative Führungskompetenz – eine Herausforderung an die neue Führungskräfte-Generation! In M. Landes, & E. Steiner, (Eds.). Psychologie der Wirtschaft. Psychologie für die berufliche Praxis (pp. 361-371). Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien.
Louw, L., Mayer, C.-H., & Surtee, S. (2014). Sense of coherence and mindfulness of women in leadership in higher education institutions. In A. Moses & K. Stanz (Eds.). Best paper proceedings of the 2nd Biennial Conference Africa Academy of Management January 8-11, 2014, (pp. 138-153). Gaborone, Botswana: The University of Botswana.
Mama, A. (2003). Restore, reform but do not transform: the gender politics of higher education in Africa. Journal of Gender Politics in Higher Education in Africa, 1, 101-125.
Mayer, C.-H. (2008). Managing conflict across cultures, values and identities. A case study in the South African automotive industry. Marburg: Tectum.
Mayer, C.-H. (2011). The meaning of sense of coherence in transcultural management. Münster: Waxmann.
Mayer C.-H., & Boness, C.M. (2013). Creating mental health across cultures. Coaching and training for managers. Lengerich, Germany: Pabst Publishers.
Mayer, C.-H., & Van Zyl, L.E. (2013). Perspectives of female leaders on sense of coherence and mental health in an engineering environment. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology/SA Tydskrif vir Bedryfsielkunde, 39(2), Art. #1097, 11 pages. doi.org/10.4102/ sajip.v39i2.1097
Mayer, C.-H. & Barnard, A. (2015 in press). Balancing the scales of gender and culture in contemporary South Africa. In S. Safdar, S. & N. Kosakowska, N. (Eds.). The Psychology of Gender and Culture. New York: Springer.
Mayer, C.-H., Surtee, S., & Barnard, A. (2014). Women leaders in higher education: a psycho-spiritual perspective. South African Journal of Psychology. doi: 10.1177/0081246314548869
Oosthuizen, R.M. & Naidoo, V. (2010). Attitudes towards and experience of employment equity. South African Journal of Insustrial Psychology, Art. #836, 9 pages. DOI: 10.4102/sajip.v36i1.836
Person, K., May, M., & Mayer, C.-H. (2014). The meaning of work for South African women: a phenomenological study. Unpublished Document. Pretoria: University of South Africa.
Pircher-Friedrich, A. M. (2007). Mit Sinn zum nachhaltigen Erfolg – Anleitung zur werte- und wert-orientierter Führung. Existenz und Logos. Zeitschrift für sinnzentrierte Therapie, Beratung, Bildung, 13, 119-139.
Posel, D. (2001). What’s in a name? Racial categorisation under apartheid and their afterlife. Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa, 47, 50-74.
Rosenstiel, L. v. (2001). Führung. In H. Schuler (Ed.). Lehrbuch der Personalpsychologie (pp. 317-347). Göttingen: Hogrefe.
Sauer, S., Walach, H., Offenbächer, M., Lynch, S., & Kohls, N. 2011. Measuring mindfulness: a rasch analysis of the Freiburger Mindfulness Inventory. Religions, 2, 693-706.
Schmidt, S. (2004). Mindfulness and healing intention: concepts, practices, and research evaluation. The journal of alternative and complementary medicince, 10, 7-14.
Siddique, A., Aslam, H.D., Khan, M., & Fatima, U. (2011). Impact of Academic Leadership on Faculty’s Motivation, and Organizational Effectiveness in Higher Education System. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2, 184-191.
Temane, Q. M., & Wissing, M. P. (2006). The role of spirituality as a mediator for psychologcal well-being across different contexts. South African Journal of Psychology, 36, 582–597.
Teferra, D., & Altbach, P.G. (2004). African higher education: challenges for the 21st century. Higher Education, 47, 21-50.
Terre Blanche, M.T., Durrheim, K., & Painter, D. (2006). Research in practice. Applied methods for the social sciences. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press.
Thomas, A., & Stumpf, S. (2003). Aspekte interkulturellen Führungsverhaltens. In N. Bergemann, & Sourisseaux, A. (Eds.). Interkulturelles Management. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
Van Knippenberg, D., & Stam, D. (2014). Visionary leadership. In D. Day (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Leadership and Organizations (pp. 241-258). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Van Wyk, M. (2012). Women leaders, personal leadership and challenges. Unpublished master’s thesis. Johannesburg: University of Johannesburg.
Werhane, P. H. (2007). Women leaders in a globalized world. Journal of Business Ethics, 74, 425-435.
Werhane, P. H., Posig, M., Gundry, L. Powell, E., Carlson, J., & Ofstein, L. (2006). Women leaders in corporate America: A study of leadership values and methods. In M. F. Karsten (ed.), Gender, race, and ethnicity in the workplace: Issues and challenges for today’s organizations (pp. 1-29). Portsmouth, NH: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Wolf, S., Huttges, A., Hoch, J. E., & Wegge, J. (2010). Führung und Gesundheit. In D. Windemuth, D. Jung, & O. Petermann (Eds.), Praxishandbuch psychische Belastungen im Beruf. Vorbeugen – erkennen – handeln (pp. 220–231). Stuttgart: Gentner.
Yin, R.K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods. London: Sage.
How to Cite
Open Access Policy: this work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY License.
All the manuscripts should be available through the Electronic platform where the Journal is based (Open Journal System).
The names and e-mails introduced in this journal will be used exclusively for the aims declared by this journal and they will not be available for no other intention or another person.
All articles are published under Creative Commons copyright (CC BY). Authors hold the copyright and retain publishing rights without restrictions, but authors allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy articles as the original source is cited.