Beyond leadership and management: the boundary-spanning role of the Pro-Vice Chancellor

C Pilbeam, Ian Jamieson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (SciVal)


With the global increase in networked forms of organizations come new challenges for the conceptualization and practice of management and leadership. Universities have a networked organizational form being composed internally of multiple groups with both complementary and conflicting characteristics and expectations, and interfacing externally with a wide range of different stakeholders. Eight pro-vice chancellors (PVC) from a formal network of chartered UK universities were interviewed. The PVC role comprised strategic and operational activities associated with their functional role, and representational and decision-making duties associated with their membership of the senior management team. All of these activities required them to operate across multiple internal and external boundaries, and especially emphasize the information processing and representational functions characteristic of boundary spanners. It is argued therefore that management and leadership roles in universities may be more parsimoniously conceptualized as boundary spanning. The implications of this for recruitment to senior positions in universities are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-776
Number of pages19
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • boundary spanner
  • pro-vice chancellor
  • university
  • manager
  • leader


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