Intellectual Leadership of Researchers in Higher Education: Relationship Between the Demographic Factors and Roles (Lithuanian Context)

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Abstract

The intellectual leadership of educators or teachers represents a topic of a great interest for educational research and practice. Variety of variables or factors have been examined to find the most complete explanations for teachers’, professors’ and educators’ roles, for example, institutional, financial, gender, organizational, spiritual, and intellectual. No literature was found on the relationship between the demographic variables and researchers’ roles in higher education regarding intellectual leadership. But a lot of studies are focused on the relationship between demographic and other factors in education: job satisfaction, organizational justice, religion, gender, culture, personal and professional roles, stress, mental health, and mobility. The research issue in this study is related to researchers’/scientists’ work in higher education schools and is focused on intellectual leadership, which consists of different roles. It is worth to think about researchers as intellectual leaders and to discover how they recognize or identify their roles in higher education. In this study, findings answer the following research question: “What are the relationships between researchers’ roles and their gender, work experience, dissertation defence date, and research field?” The object of the research study is the researchers’ roles in higher education. The aim of the study was to reveal the relationship between demographic factors and researchers’ roles in higher education. Data were collected by performing a questioning survey and using a validated questionnaire with 116 statements in total. The sample consisted of 304 researchers working in higher education institutions. For data analysis, Cronbach’s alpha, Mean and ANOVA calculations were used. The research findings reported that the female-researchers’ evaluations were higher in all cases regarding their roles in higher education schools. The results of the study highlighted that the male-researchers were devoted to the roles of academic citizens and mentors, while they did not refer the interest for academic freedom and the role of a knowledge producer. Findings revealed that the role of an academic citizen is perceived equally to other roles, despite the fact that researchers work in different research fields. In this research study, the highest estimates were given to the roles by the researchers representing medical sciences. Results showed that the lowest estimates for the diverse roles in higher education were provided by the researchers from engineering sciences. A correlation analysis between distinguished minor roles descriptions revealed that the participation of scientists in society debates and public policy correlates with all the remaining roles of scientists very weakly or weakly. The strongest correlation with all roles refers to academic duty, critic, personal development, and acting in one research field. In conclusion, intellectual leadership is the scope of challenging processes regarding developing, designing, creating, defining, ensuring, critiquing, teaching, instructing, researching, mentoring, enabling questioning, generating, envisioning, advocating, encouraging, re-imagining, managing, representing, counseling, achieving, evaluating, acting, and providing. The general components here refer to ideas, values, understandings, solutions, beliefs, visions, knowledge, approaches, purposes, and actions. By concluding the study, it is worth to accentuate that the demographic factors that are meaningful in studying the researchers’ roles within the intellectual leadership in higher education are the following - gender and research areas. The work experience in higher education and the year of Ph.D. defence are not the factors, which are meaningfully related to the role performance, academic duty and academic freedom of the researcher as an intellectual leader in higher education.

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