Leadership, managerial practices and politics in a historically black university : a case study of the Vice Chancellors at the former University of Transkei (UNITRA) from 1976-2005 with post script.
Nkanyuza, Sylvia Nompucuko.
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The University of Transkei (UNITRA) was established in 1976 under the Bantustan regime of the Paramount Chief K.D. Matanzima during the Apartheid era. UNITRA had 12 Vice Chancellors (VCs), including the 3 Ministerial Appointed Administrators (MAA) post-1994. An understanding of UNITRA’s institutional issues and its implications for changes to be effected is assessed through the chronological tenures of the Vice-Chancellors and their various relationships. The Vice-Chancellors in traversing the developmental growth of UNITRA faced internal and external challenges to their leadership practices, governance, UNITRA’s structural systems and the prevailing political climate. The past history set in motion institutional patterns that were systemic and structural in nature; which resulted in reoccurring institutional crises. The then university of Transkei ceased to exist in 2005, as a result of merger with two Border and Eastern Cape Technikons which gave rise to Walter Sisulu University (WSU), a comprehensive university. Organisational theory an interdisciplinary and multi-paradigmatic field of study (Schutz & Hatch, 1996) is used to assess and explain the levels of organisational analysis and transactions of the Vice-Chancellors’ role as a human factor and UNITRA as a case study of a Historically Black University. The first level of organisational analysis is the intraorganisational interactions and characteristics of VCs. The second level of organisational analysis at the inter-organisational level refers to the external interactions of the VCs, government and the impact on UNITRA. Along UNITRA’ history, descriptions and critical assessments of the Vice-Chancellor’s leadership and managerial practices during the Apartheid era and the Transkeian government; and the African National Congress government, post 1994 democratic elections; are critical evaluated. Purposive sampling of available former UNITRA VCs was conducted along with semi-structured interviews. As a result of snowballing effect, further semi-structured interviews were conducted. Following this, archive documents and quantitative data are used for cross-referencing, providing clarity about UNITRA’s structure and finances during each VC’s tenure. Key findings were the political climate of the day; legislation; the stakeholders’ sub-cultures and needs; UNITRA’s situational variables and bureaucratic structure affected the Vice-Chancellors’ actions, which led to a number of decisions made. These decisions impacted on UNITRA as a rural based university.
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