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An investigation of leadership development of student leaders of residences at Durban University of Technology.

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Students in university residences experience a variety of personal, social, financial and academic challenges such that student leaders in residences are necessary. It is important for universities such as Durban University of Technology (DUT) in KwaZulu-Natal to cultivate leadership skills amongst students, especially those leaders in residences. If student residences are to be an ideal place for living and learning in the university, student leaders must be equipped with leadership skills. Therefore, the aim of the study was to explore how leadership behaviors developed amongst students who were leaders in residences at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in KwaZulu-Natal. This quantitative research involved 29 DUT Durban residences. There are 100 student leaders who are based at DUT, and they are aged 19 years and older. These student leaders make up the study population. A probability sample of 80 student leaders was drawn from the population using stratified random sampling. A questionnaire, which comprised of 47 questions on student leadership development and practices, was used to elicit information from student leaders at DUT. Data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics. This study has shown that the leadership behaviours which were most frequently shown by student leaders at DUT included encouraging contribution of others (e.g. praising people for a job well done); enabling others (e.g. treating others with dignity and respect) and Ubuntu behaviours (e.g. taking initiative mediate and get conflicting parties to agree to alternatives). This study has also highlighted a variety of student leadership behaviours that were rare among the student leaders. These include student leadership behaviours of setting a personal example of what is expected from other students; following through on the promises and commitments made; inspiring of a shared vision by communicating about what was believed to affect students in the future and also, about how students interests can be met by working towards common goal were very rare. Predominantly, leadership behaviours were developed through peer interactions and exercise of social influence rather than formal leadership courses, mentorship or coaching. Recommendations have been made regarding how leadership of students who are leaders in residence can be developed at DUT. Areas for future research are also highlighted in this study.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.