Academic scholars have written many books guiding managers at different business/industry positions. I wondered that I was unable to find any noticeable book describing the roles of a department head, dean, vice presidents, etc.

Academic scholars always guide managers in different sectors to use academic (scientific) methods for managing an organization; then, why there is no academic advancement to classify the role of university managers/administrators?

The main resources, as I searched, are few scholarly journals devoted to higher education in general.

If you know any book/resource on this matter, feel free to share.

My question is: if someone is just appointed as a department chair or decided to implement changes to his management system, where he can find books/guides on this matter?

  • There are extensive works in the journals, in edited collections and in monograph criticising New Public Management in the UK system; and an equivalent volume criticising post-Dawkins University management in Australia. Apr 27, 2013 at 0:36

3 Answers 3


Mathematician John B. Conway has written a book: On Being a Department Head, a Personal View.

  • Thanks this should be an interesting book in this subject, but as the title suggests it is a personal view. I am curious why it is not popular among university managers to read management books about their positions; then, there are a few general books in this subject.
    – Googlebot
    Apr 27, 2013 at 14:28
  • 2
    Of course it's a personal view. Every book is a personal view.
    – JeffE
    Apr 27, 2013 at 16:52
  • Not every book, most of books are personal views, as concluding different opinions to achieved the most acceptable ideas. Are textbooks personal views of the authors? Their personal views are how they collect the topics, which are well developed by others. However, the above-mentioned book is personal experiences of one person in a role.
    – Googlebot
    Apr 28, 2013 at 18:24

I am not sure if this is helpful since I don't know for which academic system you are asking. Anyway, this question may also be found by other people searching for an answer to the same question, here is an answer for the German academic system:

There is the book "In Forschung und Lehre professionell agieren" by Lioba Werth and Klaus Sedlbauer. A German description is available here. I haven't read the book myself, but it has got a few good reviews here.

  • I understand that education system is different in various countries, but there are basic rules of management which are constant in all countries, for a department chair, a business manager, or other positions. It is useful to read something about German academic system, but definitely in English :)
    – Googlebot
    Apr 26, 2013 at 21:09

How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment might be very helpful for you although it does not answer your question directly. However, it generally critiques the thought and decision processes in academia.

  • This books focus on professors, not academic management positions such as department chairs.
    – Googlebot
    Apr 26, 2013 at 21:10
  • 1
    I would argue that department chairs are professors.
    – Shion
    Apr 26, 2013 at 22:13
  • when someone is appointed as a department chair, s/he is already a professor. S/he might be interested to learn about the role of chair, its problems, duties, tricks of management, etc.
    – Googlebot
    Apr 27, 2013 at 12:41
  • I think that professors in such academic positions are bothered with other things like tenure process, departmental funding, their own research etc. In its very essence academic administrative positions are very different from similar organizational positions. The power structures and hierarchies are very different. Besides, you can't learn management from a book, merely personal opinions which were already offered as answers here. I am perfectly sure that none of the best organizational managers read management books.
    – Shion
    Apr 28, 2013 at 4:58
  • Then, by your last point, you mean the academic discipline of management is useless?!?!
    – Googlebot
    Apr 28, 2013 at 10:02

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