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The Dean's Dilemma: Leadership of Equals
Public Administration Review
Vol. 20, No. 1 (Winter, 1960), pp. 22-27
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/974063
Page Count: 6
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University administration is like administration of other enterprises, John Corson assures us, in consisting of decision-making, programing, communication of program, control, and appraisal. But descriptions of what middle and top management of higher education face in undertaking these universal processes may sound highly unusual: for example, participative management in which the administrator is like a majority leader among near-equals-who have scant loyalty to the organization even while acting with deep loyalty to the organization's purposes, units that fight un-Parkinsonlike to avoid new jurisdictions, organizations which seldom have a clearly defined over-all statement of purpose and whose parts are connected geographically and on paper but scarcely by regular operating relationships. Yet before other public administrators dismiss this as science fiction so far as their work is concerned, they should recognize that some of the causes of university administration's differences are growing forces in their own organizations-for example, employee loyalty to a professional field in competition with loyalty to the organization, employees with so much expertness that outsiders are unable to understand them easily, and severe shortages of top flight specialist talent resulting in individual bargaining on pay among other effects. Also, some administrative approaches advocated generally-such as emphasis on leadership rather than authority and on wide participation in decision-making-are here displayed in extreme form, which can provide guidance to others on the same route. Administrators of other programs will find many familiar problems discussed here: for example, the persistent encroachment of procedural details and public relations demands on the executive's central job of defining purpose, and the need to find and prepare executives who can be both program philosophers and administrative experts. In addition, they may note in Algo Henderson's study that government and business executives occasionally are attracted to this administrative wonderland. Finally, to those who regard the dean's dilemma as mercifully irrelevant to them, one might ask why government is turning more to universities to perform its tasks. And one might also look here for clues to overcoming the persistent incompatibility in the increasing marriages of university and government in the holy bonds of research. The symposium was arranged and guided by James A. Perkins.
Public Administration Review © 1960 American Society for Public Administration