Leadership, complexity and emotional labour: a collaborative autoethnographic study of adaptive and enabling leadership during COVID-19 

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


COVID-19 presented leaders in higher education (HE) around the world with complex and pressing challenges that required an adaptable and agile response. Using a collaborative autoethnographic methodology, the study explored academic leadership in HE during the pandemic and how adaptation and innovation was supported during this time. We used recorded conversations and other artefacts to gather qualitative data about our leadership experiences as associate deans for learning and teaching. Complexity Leadership Theory was used as a theoretical framework to guide the data collection and analysis. Two key themes emerged from the narrative analysis: the importance of enabling leadership; and emotional labour and compassionate leadership. These themes point to a need to consider the significance of compassionate and empathetic practice as a core component of enabling leadership, to ensure that leadership practices are effective particularly during periods of change. 
Period6 Dec 202110 Dec 2021
Event titleSociety for Research into Higher Education: (Re)connecting, (Re)building: Higher Education in Transformative Times
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational