Women in university fund raising: how they understand their roles as leaders in middle management
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The purpose of this study was to answer the research question of how women understand their roles in middle management, public higher education fund raising. This qualitative study, targeting two public universities in the western region of the U.S., found the current climate of higher education leadership is not consistent with how female directors of development identify as leaders. The overarching essence, "The Ideal and Real: Conflicts and Consequences," highlights the dualistic culture present in fund development organizations in the universities studied. The power play between the realities of organizational work lives and the authentic needs of the women created a complex balancing act for the female participants. The participants believe that upper management publicly projects the accepted ideals of leadership, yet in the end top-down decision making is favored. This dominant and more valued approach to leadership - a power approach - results in conflicts and consequences for the female participants. The women believe their needs, contributions and opportunities to advance are of marginal importance to their universities. Therefore, as key middle-management leaders who secure needed financial support - amid the changing landscape of financing public higher education - the female participants are unhappy with their work lives and are considering alternatives to working in higher education long term. Importantly, this study found that participants are voicing the need for a learner-centered approach to leadership.
Access is limited to the campuses of the University of Missouri.