A Case Study of an Innovative Pharmacy Curriculum and Leadership Behaviors
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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Change is constant in higher education, and innovation is central to change. Facilitating innovation requires the influence of leaders. Transformational leadership is a prominent leadership construct which has been shown to facilitate innovation within organizations. Previous literature on transformational leadership and innovation is abundant but inconclusive. Additionally, there is little scholarly work on innovation as a mindset. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the transformational leadership behaviors and innovative mindsets of curricular leaders within the context of curricular reform (i.e., organizational change). To showcase this alignment, a new conceptual framework was proposed. This study was a qualitative case study of innovative curricular reform and organizational change with a pharmacy program. Three research questions shaped this study. The case study participants were faculty curricular leaders with no formal authority who led curricular change. Data were collected via one-on-one interviews, researcher reflection, and curricular artifacts. Data was analyzed thematically, and overall findings were generated. Research findings indicated that all transformational leadership qualities and behaviors were expressed by curricular leaders. The most significant transformational leadership behaviors displayed by participants included encouraging commitment and curiosity, trusting others, and assuming administrative responsibilities. Further, innovation as a mindset is an internalization process that occurs from being willing to address issues within an organization or team. Results showed that curricular leaders internalized innovation through a willingness to take risks, being inquisitive, and expressing awareness of themselves and others. As a result of these findings, the proposed conceptual framework was refined. The updated framework provides clarity regarding the relationship and alignment between the categories of innovation and the behaviors of transformational leadership. Results from this study indicate that a leader’s transformational qualities and behaviors are closely linked with the ways they internalize innovation as a mindset. A transformational leader has an innovative mindset. Results from this study provide specific qualities and behaviors related to a leader’s behaviors and mindset that others can emulate or that programs can use for leadership development. This case study confirms previous findings that transformational leadership qualities and behaviors are relevant for achieving organizational change. Additionally, leaders do not need to be at the top of an organization nor have formal authority to be effective in leading innovative change.