Format of Original
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education
Original Item ID
Four academic deans investigated when and how they used interpersonal/negotiating skills to function effectively in their positions. For two full weeks, the deans coded their on-the-job interactions during scheduled meetings, informal meetings, spontaneous encounters/meetings, telephone calls, and select email. Analyses revealed that the interpersonal/negotiating skills used, from most to least prevalent, were: working closely with others, being responsive to key persons, negotiating key players' roles, and keeping key persons in the organisation informed. Across these engagements, the deans interacted with 35 different categories of stakeholders inside and outside their institutions for 32 different purposes. Given the nature and range of interactions, the deans concluded that practicing and prospective deans should likely have access to professional development opportunities explicitly focused on working closely with others. Future research would need to confirm, however, whether interpersonal/negotiating skills are essential for deans' job survival and, if so, whether such skills can authentically be developed.