Theses Doctoral

Learning Agility And Its Applicability To Higher Education

Murphy, Suzanne M.

Learning Agility (LA) is catapulting our understanding of the relationship between the measurement of LA and leadership success, a critical component for succeeding in a volatile, uncertain, complex (VUCA) environment. While the business sector has benefited from the research and practice around LA, this exploratory study takes an initial look at the applicability of LA to higher education leadership through in-depth interviews with eleven college presidents, coupled with the results of the Burke Learning Assessment Inventory (BLAI). Administered to the presidents and their senior teams, the BLAI was created by W. Warner Burke to measure nine dimensions that demonstrate specific behaviors related to LA.

Overall, both the interviews with the presidents and BLAI scores evidenced strong LA views and behaviors. A close examination of the senior team roles and the need for LA revealed strengths and alignment with key dimensions of the BLAI, while noticeable gaps surfaced between the presidents’ views and BLAI self-ratings, illuminating opportunities for growth and further research. A strong relationship was revealed between presidents’ BLAI scores and those she deemed higher performers across the critical dimensions, providing a snapshot of the LA behaviors of successful higher education leaders. All presidents acknowledged a relationship between LA and higher education leadership success, with 64% stating that there was a strong relationship, and the remaining 36% stating that there was a relationship, but to varying degrees, identifying some of the key dimensions as less applicable to higher education.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Organization and Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Burke, W. Warner
Noumair, Debra
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 1, 2021