Monday, October 26, 2009

Why Research Universities Should Be Led by Top Scholars

Amanda H. Goodall / University of Warwick
Princeton Univ. Press 2009

Chapter 1 [PDF]

Socrates in the Boardroom argues that world-class scholars, not administrators, make the best leaders of research universities. Amanda Goodall cuts through the rhetoric and misinformation swirling around this contentious issue--such as the assertion that academics simply don't have the managerial expertise needed to head the world's leading schools--using hard evidence and careful, dispassionate analysis. She shows precisely why experts need leaders who are experts like themselves.

Goodall draws from the latest data on the world's premier research universities along with in-depth interviews with top university leaders both past and present, including University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann; Derek Bok and Lawrence Summers, former presidents of Harvard University; John Hood, former vice chancellor of the University of Oxford; Cornell University President David Skorton; and many others. Goodall explains why the most effective leaders are those who have deep expertise in what their organizations actually do. Her findings carry broad implications for the management of higher education, and she demonstrates that the same fundamental principle holds true for other important business sectors as well.

Experts, not managers, make the best leaders. Read Socrates in the Boardroom and learn why.

Amanda H. Goodall is a Leverhulme Fellow at Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick.


"I started reading this book with some skepticism, since I was doubtful that a convincing empirical case could be made for its key empirical proposition--that research universities should be led by top scholars. I was wrong. This is a first-rate piece of work that combines sensitive use of quantitative data with strong qualitative data. Although the topic is obviously important and frequently discussed, I know of no other systematic study of it. The book should be read by people in the business of identifying university presidents, and also by students of leadership and organizational practice."--William G. Bowen, former president of Princeton University and coauthor of The Shape of the River

"An invaluable and convincing case for why knowledge-based organizations such as major research universities and R & D organizations would increase the probability of success by choosing for their top leadership roles those who are acknowledged thought leaders and experts in their field."--Warren Bennis, distinguished professor of business at the University of Southern California, author of On Becoming a Leader, and coauthor of Transparency

"This is a fascinating book, focused primarily--but not exclusively--on correlations between the excellence of universities and the academic distinction of their leaders. Goodall demonstrates significant such correlations, particularly for American universities. This is a book of considerable interest and significance, and it should be required reading for every university trustee or governor."--Robert M. May, University of Oxford

More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments xi
Preface xiii

CHAPTER ONE: The Argument 1

CHAPTER TWO: Leaders of the World's Top Universities 24

CHAPTER THREE: Deans of the Top Business Schools 46

CHAPTER FOUR: Is There Longitudinal Evidence That Scholars Improve the Performance of Their Universities? 55

CHAPTER FIVE: Why Choose Leaders Who Are Scholars? What University Presidents Say about It 79

CHAPTER SIX: How Do Leaders Get Selected? 106

CHAPTER SEVEN: Expert Leaders among Professionals, in Sport and the Arts 124

CHAPTER EIGHT: In Conclusion 136

APPENDIX ONE: Data Collection 141

APPENDIX TWO: Bibliometric Data 147

APPENDIX THREE: The Sample of Universities and Business Schools 153

APPENDIX FOUR: The Decline of Nobel Prizes in Europe 159

APPENDIX FIVE: Analysis of All Departments (Those Rated Top-5 in the RAE) 163

APPENDIX SIX: Notes from a Department Head 167

References 169
Index 181


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