Project Methodology


The project based its theoretical framework on the conclusion reached at the first ALTC colloquium on distributed leadership, that, a distributed model of leadership is needed in higher education.

The project adopted the ALTC concept of distributed leadership as focused on operationalising approaches that are multi-level and institution-wide as distinct from positional/structural leadership that focuses on various levels of academic leadership, or frameworks for academic leadership. It justified this approach as capacity development for both formal and informal leadership within higher education institutions.



The methodological framework that underpinned the project built on the common methods and strategies of an action research methodology and participant reflection that was used in the four initial projects. This approach received ethics approval from the RMIT Business research ethics committee in 2010 and based on this similar ethics approval was granted by the research ethics committees in each of the partner institutions.

Over an eighteen month period the project used a participatory and inquiry-based action research methodology of reflexive inquiry. This provided the opportunity to implement and research change simultaneously using action research cycles of planning, acting, observing/ reflecting and replanning.

The action research methodology offered the benefit of an emphasis upon collaboration and collegiality. This was considered essential to this multi-dimensional, interdisciplinary, multi-university and multi-campus project. It also enabled feedback from a broad array of leaders in learning and teaching from a diverse array of Australian higher education institutions.