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Portraits in Leadership: Six Extraordinary University Presidents (ACE/Praeger Series on Higher Education) Hardcover – April 30, 2005


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Portraits in Leadership: Six Extraordinary University Presidents (ACE/Praeger Series on Higher Education) + Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It + Higher Education in America
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Product Details

  • Series: ACE/Praeger Series on Higher Education
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (April 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275984907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275984908
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #640,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Padilla (business management, North Carolina State U. Raleigh) cites parallels between his integrative approach to leadership in complex organizational contexts and John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage in politics. He overviews scholarly approaches to effective leaders in presenting six case studies of contemporary university presidents: Clark Kerr (U. of California), William Friday (U. of North Carolina), Father Theodore Hesburgh (U. of Notre Dame), Hanna Gray (U. of Chicago), John Slaughter (U. of Maryland), and William Bowen (Princeton U)." "Leading complex organizations is never easy or simple. In Portraits of Leadership Arthur Padilla, a professor of business management in the College of Management at N.C. State University, examines the American university to draw lessons about running large outfits. His six case studies--including a portrait of the challenges faced and solutions forged by William Friday when he led the University of North Carolina--highlight the importance of persuasion and communication. Padilla also suggests methods for improving the selection of leaders and increasing organizational effectiveness. (Reference & Research Book News)

About the Author

ARTHUR PADILLA is professor of business management in the College of Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh. He was previously vice president of the UNC system. Padilla was a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution from 1980 to 1981. He has published a number of articles in journals in his field of business and economics as well as in leadership

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vern Roberts on May 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'm the head of a small, non-profit organization so I was not sure whether this book would actually be of much interest. But as one of the reviewers on the book-jacket writes, this book should be very useful to people outside universities as well. It is well-written and very engaging. What makes it especially appealing is the author's ability to take "academese" and convert it into understandable English. His chapter on leadership is one of the most original I have seen and the discussion of "resiliency" is fascinating. He also presents six detailed case studies and each is written essentially to stand alone. The first three chapters lay out a conceptual blueprint and this makes each case easier to interpret. His use of compelling anecdotes and well-researched historical passages really bring the cases to life. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel F. Cahill on January 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Professor Padilla has written a book on the characters and operating principles of a collection of exemplary academic leaders. While this volume is well researched, it exceeds the usual academic exercises in that it is eminently readable, insightful and human. The instructive lessons are clear and generally applicable to students of business management.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gunner on May 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Even though this is essentially a research book it is very well

written and contains a solid presentation of the leadership process. The chapter summarizing leadership research is the best I've seen and provides an original framework around which to read the case studies. There has been a lot of academic research on leadership over the last twenty years and much of it is incomprehensible and so specific as to be relatively useless but the author's original synthesis of this work

is excellent. The cases studies are not only very entertaining but they follow this basic leadership framework developed in the theory chapter. The chapter on the University as a complex organization is also very good and highly readable. I recommend the book both as an essay on leadership and as an analysis of university presidency.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author says that Profiles in Leadership is modeled after Profiles in Courage ... stimulating me to go back and read this book that I first read in Junior High School. (I liked it then and liked it even more now, but that is another story.) Although the stories about academic leaders is interesting, it isn't quite as engrossing as Profiles in Courage. Nevertheless, there are some interesting examples of challenges these university presidents faced and how it influenced their careers. In most cases, the challenges stand out more than the successes, but the book also focuses on qualities that the author attributes to their leadership skills.

The book provides brief biographies of six college presidents who served as leaders of institutions with distinct problems and opportunities. The example I found most interesting was the perspective on Clark Kerr, detailing how he rose through the ranks to President of the University of California then was "Fired with enthusiasm" by the governor of California, Ronald Reagan. Although his influence on the California Master Plan for higher education is well known, the last minute brokering involved in getting it passed provides insight into why the plan has withered with age. Other examples focus on how athletics problems can doom an otherwise successful president, political pitfalls of countering powerful alumni, and other challenges.

These biographies provide interesting perspectives into success strategies and potential pitfalls of university presidents. However, I was less convinced by the argument that the leadership skills of these presidents was determined by their childhood experiences -- a set of commonalities that may simply reflect the timeframe of their presidencies vs a script for nurturing future leaders.
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