Relational Leadership Considerations for Higher Education Technology Administrators

By: Todd Britton   L. Hyatt  

Higher education technology administrators (HETAs) are facing a very tight labor market, shrinking budgets, challenging enrollment trends, and elevated demand for competent talent (Blankenberger & Phillips, 2016; Gast, Werner, & Kraus, 2017; Torres, Rochmes, & Harding, 2017). As leaders, HETAs are also responsible for managing personnel that requires a leadership perspective historically not usually associated with those responsible for leading technology initiatives. The purpose of this research was to review cogent relational leadership literature to identify emerging themes that align with HETAs. Historically, technology administrators were more independent in nature, deriving their power from their position. Yet lately, benefits of a more relational role are being realized by these leaders. The findings of this study suggest relational leadership as an approach that focuses on the satisfaction, motivation, and well-being of team members resulting in a deeper human connectedness (EDUCAUSE, 2015; Orr & Bennett, 2017; Uhl-Bien, 2011). The methods used were a review of over 200 peer-reviewed publicly accessible publications were identified and analyzed using comparative analysis. Prominent themes emerged and were identified as important relational leadership considerations for higher education technology administrators. Findings included five central practices which indicated relational leadership was connected to team trust, innovation, and enhanced employee outcomes, satisfaction, and tenure. The results of this research benefit higher education technology administrators, their communities, and the institutions they serve.

Relational Leadership, Higher Education, Technology Administrators, Social Constructionism
Technologies in Society
Virtual Poster

Todd Britton

Chief of Information Officer (CIO), Office of Information Technology, University of La Verne, United States
United States

Dr. Todd Britton is a senior executive cabinet member versed in organizaitonal leadership, information technology, risk management, program and project management, and technology governance. Todd came to the University of La Verne in 2008 from private industry and provides strategic leadership and operational management through oversight of the Information Technology division.Todd, a lifelong learner, acheived his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and Management in 2014 where he studied open source software needs in budget-challenged California Unversities. Todd is a frequent invited speaker, panelist, guest lecturer, and executive education instructor in national and international academic and business forums. 

Dr. L. Hyatt

Dr. L. Hyatt earned a doctorate degree at Pepperdine University and is an Associate Professor in the Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne. Research interests focus on learning and change, and story. Scholarly endeavors consist of writing journal articles and book chapters, presenting at conferences, serving as associate managing editor for a peer-reviewed journal and on several editorial boards, and authoring two books for McGraw-Hill.