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Leadership for Team Learning: The Case of University Teacher Teams

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Abstract

Teacher team involvement is considered a key factor in achieving sustainable innovation in higher education. This requires engaging in team learning behaviors that should result in new knowledge and solutions. However, university teachers are not used to discussing their work practices with one another and tend to neglect any innovation in their tasks. Team leadership behavior is often considered essential for stimulating team learning behavior, but it is unclear how this transpires. Therefore, the present study explores university teacher team members' perceptions of team learning behavior, their assigned task, and leadership behaviors in their team. Interviews were conducted with 16 members of different teacher teams at a university of applied sciences. Findings included that the vast majority of the team learning behaviors only involved sharing ideas; engaging in constructive conflicts and co-constructions was not observed. Only a few teams combined all three team learning behaviors. In these teams, members observed that existing methods and solutions were no longer adequate, with leaders appearing to combine transformational and transactional behaviors, but operating from a distance without actively interfering in the process. Furthermore, these team members shared leadership behaviors while focusing on the team as a whole, instead of solving problems at individual level. This strongly indicates that task perception and specific vertical and shared team leadership behaviors play a role in stimulating teachers in seeking controversy and co-constructing new knowledge.

    Research areas

  • Team learning, Team leadership, Shared leadership, Higher education, Teacher teams, Task perception, HIGHER-EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS, SHARED LEADERSHIP, MANAGEMENT TEAMS, PERFORMANCE, KNOWLEDGE, TASK, METAANALYSIS, COMMUNITIES, NETWORKS, COLLABORATION
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-207
Number of pages17
JournalHigher Education
Volume75
Issue number2
Early online date2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018