Leadership Case Study: Babcock University New Department Chair Leaders Dilemma. by, Brandon Garber, BS. Submitted to. Robert Dibie, PhD.

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1 Leadership Case Study: Babcock University New Department Chair Leaders Dilemma by, Brandon Garber, BS Submitted to Robert Dibie, PhD. In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of V566: Executive Leadership School of Public Environment and Affairs Indiana University, Kokomo Fall, 2007

2 Babcock University New Department Chair - 1 Introduction This case study titled, Babcock University New Department Chair Leaders Dilemma, explores the leadership shift from Dr. Afolabi to Dr. Aluko in the Babcock University Public Management Department. The case study holds that Dr. Afolabi was the public management department chair person for ten years at Babcock University. His leadership style was explained as autocratic. However, he had, personal qualities necessary to command respect and loyalty (Leadership Case Study: Babcock University New Department Chair Leaders Dilemma). Additionally, Dr. Afolabi made and enforced all rules, regulations and policies in extreme detail. His autocratic style of leadership left very little to the individual faculty member in terms of experimentation, freedom in teaching and handling of students. His style of leadership caused the faculty to be passive, subservient, dependant and ambivalent (Leadership Case Study ). However, faculty morale was generally high and faculty turnover was modest. Many faculty members trusted Dr. Afolabi and felt that they were not restricted. When Dr. Afolabi suddenly died he was replaced by Dr. Aluko. The case study holds that Dr. Aluko came from a neighboring university where he held a position as a faculty member and assistant department chairperson. Dr. Aluko s leadership style was in sharp contrast to Dr. Afolabi. Dr. Aluko believed strongly in the concept of democratic

3 Babcock University New Department Chair - 2 administration (Leadership Case Study ). In other words, he believed in delegating tasks to his subordinates. For example, at the first department meeting of the semester, he articulated that he wanted to share the budgeting, scheduling and the allocation of supplies responsibilities with the members of the faculty. He believed that this would allow the faculty to have a greater role in the decision making process. Unfortunately, this led to decreased morale and a feeling that Dr. Aluko was assigning chair person work to faculty members. Furthermore, Dr. Aluko did not assign the faculty any noninstructional duties, assuming that the faculty would participate in committee and department meetings, advice student groups with no interference from him. However, this did not happen and was eventually noticed by the dean, and Dr. Aluko was invited for a chat. During this chat the dean and the provost stated that they no longer know what s going on in the Public Management Department and were concerned that perhaps Dr. Aluko was not up to the job of department chair (Leadership Case Study ). Problems The main problem in this case study is how a change in leadership has caused a successful Public Management Department to be deemed unsatisfactory by the dean and the provost of Babcock University. (Assuming that success is measured by course enrollments being high, number of students going on to graduate school and a steady increase in

4 Babcock University New Department Chair - 3 department budget and assuming that unsatisfactory behavior is measured by faculty members not attending meetings, not keeping regular officer hours not being punctual and student complaints.) However, this problem was manifested mainly due to the contrasting leadership styles of Dr. Afolabi and Dr. Aluko and will be discussed in the Critical Analysis section of this case study. Critical Analysis It is my belief that the root cause of the down fall of the Public Management Department is the change in leadership. However, to understand the problem, an examination of both Dr. Afolabi s and Dr. Aluko s leadership styles must be explored. Dr. Afolabi s Leadership Style The issue with Dr. Afolabi s leadership style is that he was described, in the case study, as a paternalistic autocrat (Leadership Case Study ). Therefore, due to this leadership style, the faculty was not prepared and/or not willing to accept a change in leadership. Dr. Afolabi s production oriented leadership behavior (labeled Authority- Compliance Management by Blake and Mouton on their Leadership Grid) is characterized by, having great concern for production and little concern for people (Blake and Mouton, 1964). In this style of leadership Blake and Mouton explain that this type of leader uses tight control to get tasks done efficiently and considers creativity and human relations unnecessary (1964). This can be seen in his lack of trust in his faculty,

5 Babcock University New Department Chair - 4 lack of delegation, enforcement of all rules, regulations and policies in extreme detail, and being described as aloof (tight control to get tasks done efficiently). However, at the same time course enrollments and, the number of students going on to graduate school were increasing and there was a steady increase in the department budget (concern for production). An additional fault in Dr. Afolabi s leadership style is the lack of keeping his work life and his social life separate. The case study holds that Dr. Afolabi, frequently visited socially at the homes of faculty members and frequently lunched with senior administrator, and occasionally invited a junior faculty member to come along (Leadership Case Study ). This fault may have contributed to several problems. Dr. Afolabi s social calls at faculty members homes may have formed bonds that may have led to the loyalty and trust with many faculty members. Furthermore, these social calls may have led to the inability to discipline and the perception of favoritism towards those faculty members. What is more, when Dr. Aluko was appointed to the chairperson position he did not continue this tradition, which the faculty felt was the norm. This may have led to some of the initial distrust of Dr. Aluko. The case study holds that Dr. Afolabi was, extraordinarily adept at handling his superiors (Leadership Case Study ). It is assumed that he was able to do this because he frequently had lunch dates with the upper

6 Babcock University New Department Chair - 5 administration and built a close friendship with them. As discussed above, this type of relationship causes the inability to discipline and the perception of favoritism towards the chairperson and/or department. Again, when Dr. Aluko was appointed to the chairperson position he did not continue this tradition consequently, this led to the upper administration stating, [we] no longer know what s going on in the Public Management Department (Leadership Case Study ). Dr. Afolabi was a very good manager unfortunately, he was not a leader. Bratton, Grint and Nelson hold that management is often explained as the, process designed to coordinate and control productive activities (2005 p. 8). The case study clearly shows that Afolabi was very adapt at managing his department. For example, course enrollments were high; the number of students going on to graduate school was high; his faculty had high research productivity; and, his department did not cause any problems. Rousseau states, That management is concerned with a set of contractual exchanges, do this work for that reward and leadership is concerned with reciprocal influence process (1995). What is more, many researches hold that management is not a value rich activity whereas leadership is (Bratton, Grint and Nelson, 2005). Apps stated, What is important for the emerging age is that leaders have a foundation, an examined core of beliefs and values that guides them during times of paradox, ambiguity, and chaotic change

7 Babcock University New Department Chair - 6 (1994 p. 36). Because Dr. Afolabi was a manager, he did not have these core beliefs. During a time of chaotic change (i.e. his death and the appointment of Dr. Aluko) his faculty was not able to adapt. Problems with Dr. Aluko s Leadership Style Dr. Aluko s major fault was that he did not do his research into the Public Management Department s social structure. Dr. Aluko s relationship oriented leadership behavior (labeled Country Club Management by Blake and Mouton on their Leadership Grid) is characterized by, having great concern for people and little concern for production, attempts to avoids conflict, and seeks to be well liked (Blake and Mouton, 1964). Dr. Aluko was not able or did not possess the ability to analyze Dr. Afolabi s leadership style and its effect on the faculty. Dr. Aluko further did not take into account that Dr. Afolabi ran the Public Management Department autocratically and the faculty was accustom to that style of leadership. Although Dr. Aluko had good intensions of creating an empowered faculty through the use of what the case study called democratic administration, he did not have the insight to understand that the faculty was not ready to adopt his style of leadership (Leadership Case Study ). The faculty resistance to Dr. Aluko s democratic administration can be seen during Dr. Aluko s first few faculty meetings when he attempted to delegate budgeting, scheduling and the allocation of

8 Babcock University New Department Chair - 7 supplies to the members of the faculty and was meet with resistance (Leadership Case Study ). An additional example can been seen when Dr. Aluko did not make specific assignments of the faculty s noninstructional duties. Because the faculty was accustom to a more ridged form of leadership many faculty members quit attending department meetings, did not serve on college admissions committee, or keep regular office hours. Dr. Aluko was striving to be a good leader by attempting to get his faculty involved in the decision making process. However, it is widely accepted in most modern leadership models that delegation of tasks is the very last step of that procedure. Unfortunately, he did not take into account that developing followers is a procedure that takes a certain amount of time and that the faculty members were not ready to be involved in the decision making process. Leadership is critical in a time of change and successful transformation is 70 to 90 percent leadership (Kotter, 1996). John Kotter holds that leaders in a complex organizations must, (1) establish direction, (2) align people with that vision, and (3) motivate and inspirer them to make change happen despite the barriers (1990, 1996). Dr. Aluko failed to observe Kotter s holdings and attempted to empower his faculty well before they were ready. As a result Dr. Aluko failed as a leader and Public Management Department suffered.

9 Babcock University New Department Chair - 8 Recommendations My recommendation to the Dean of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs is to retain Dr. Aluko as department chair person of the Public Management Department. I believe that Dr. Aluko s thoughts on empowering his faculty are very noble; however, it would appear that he does not have the knowledge, skills or abilities to be able to do that. Therefore, I would recommend that Dr. Aluko be required to attend a leadership conference and/or a class that teaches him these skills. I would additionally recommend that the Dean and Dr. Aluko work together to establish benchmarks and goals for the Public Management Department that are well defined and are instituted on a specific timetable. In the conference and/or class that Dr. Aluko should attend he could learn about the contingency theory of leadership and situational leadership. The contingency theory holds that, That the effectiveness of a particular organizational structure or strategy depends upon the presence or absence of other factors. In this sense, there are no absolutely right or wrong structures or strategies. Instead, rightness or wrongness must be gauged relative to the situation, the circumstance, or the other factors. (Jaffee, 2001 p. 210). In other words, the best way to organize is dependent on the nature of the Public Management Department environment (Scott, 2003).

10 Babcock University New Department Chair - 9 Dr. Aluko could additionally learn about the situational leadership theory. This theory suggests that, effective leaders adjust their behavior to the readiness of followers the extent to which followers demonstrate ability and willingness to accomplish a specific task (Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson, 2001). Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson hold that followers, Tend to be at different levels of readiness depending on the task they are being asked to do. Readiness is not a personal characteristic; it is not an evaluation of a person s traits, values, age and so on. Readiness is how ready a person is to perform a particular task (1996). The model rests on two fundamental concepts; leadership behavior, and follower readiness level. They categorized all leadership styles into four behavior types, which they named S1 to S4: S1: Telling/Directing Leaders: Provide specific instructions and closely supervise performance. Decisions are made by the leader and announced, so communication is largely oneway. S2: Selling/Coaching Leaders: Explain decisions and provide opportunity for clarification. Decisions remain the leader's prerogative, but communication is much more two-way. S3: Supporting Leaders: Share ideas and facilitate in decision making. The leader passes day-to-day decisions, such as task allocation and processes, to the follower. S4: Delegating Leaders: Turn over responsibility for decisions and implementation. Leaders are still involved in decisions and problem-solving, but control is with the follower. The follower decides when and how the leader will be involved (Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson, 2001).

11 Babcock University New Department Chair - 10 The right leadership style will depend on the follower; therefore, Blanchard and Hersey include the Readiness of the Follower. They hold that the leader's chosen style should be based on the ability and willingness of the follower. They categorized the development of the follower into four levels, which they named R1 to R4: R1: Followers are unable and unwilling or insecure. R2: Followers are unable but will or confident. R3: Followers are able but unwilling or insecure. R4: Followers are able and will or confident (Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson, 2001). (Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson, 2001) Conclusion This is a very interesting case study in which we are able to examine the different leadership styles between Dr. Afolabi and Dr. Aluko. Dr. Afolabi and his autocratic leadership style was able to keep

12 Babcock University New Department Chair - 11 the Public Management department running smoothly. Unfortunately, he was not able to prepare the faculty for any type of change. In contrast, Dr. Aluko attempted to empower the faculty but, was unwilling or unable to analyze the social structure of the Public Management Department. This resulted in decreased morale and a feeling that Dr. Aluko was assigning chair person work to faculty members. So, where does the blame rest? Hammer and Champy hold that most re-engineering failures stem from breakdowns in leadership (1993). Therefore, I feel the blame rest on both Dr. Afolabi and Dr. Aluko because, both were poor leaders. Both felt that they were doing what was right to create and administer a successful department; however, they both failed to take into account the followers. I believe Dr. Aluko had the correct ideas on how to run the Public Management Department but, he did not take the time to properly execute those ideas. Therefore, I believe that the department can be saved if Dr. Aluko is required to attend a leadership conference and/or a class that teaches him the proper knowledge, skills or abilities to implement the Situational Leadership Model. It would additionally assist the Public Management Department if the Dean and Dr. Aluko work together to establish benchmarks and goals for the Public Management Department that are well defined and instituted on a specific timetable.

13 Babcock University New Department Chair - 12 References Apps, J.W. (1994). Leadership for the emerging age. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Blake, R. R., and Mouton, J. S. (1964). The Managerial Grid. Houston: Gulf. Bratton, Grint and Nelson (2005). Organizational Leadership. Thomson South-Western. Hammer, M and Champy, J. (1993). Reengineering the Corporation. London: Nicholas Brealey. Hersey, P., Blanchard, K. and Johnson, D. (2001). Management of Organizational Behavior: Leading Human Resources, 8 th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hill. Hersey, P., Blanchard, K. and Johnson, D. (1996). Management of Organizational Behavior: Leading Human Resources, 7 th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hill Jaffee, D. (2001) Organization Theory: Tension and Change. McGraw- Hill, New York Kotter, J. P. (1990). A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs from Management. New York: Free Press. Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Leadership Case Study: Babcock University New Department Chair Leaders Dilemma. Rousseau, D. M. (1995). Psychological Contracts in Organizations: Understanding Written and Unwritten Agreements. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Scott, W. R. (2003). Organizations: Rational, Natural and Open Systems. Prentice Hall, 5th Edition.

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