Higher Officials’ Training Needs on Managerial Competencies in Spanish Universities: Preliminary Findings

Jesus Rodriguez POMEDA* and Fernando CASANI
Universidad Autonoma de Madrid


Problem Statement: What the self-perceptions of higher officials in Spanish universities are about the main competencies required in their daily tasks. Purpose of Study.To analyze what the main competencies are in the professional behaviour of higher officials at Spanish universities. The improvement of their competencies through a systematic educative framework would be based on what gaps are found to exist in their competencies.

Methods: Principal component analysis: After dealing with sample size, we have analyzed the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) statistic of sampling adequacy and the Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity. After that, we ran the component extraction and the interpretation of the components based on oblique rotation. The last task was to check the reliability of the scale used.

Findings and Results: Spanish universities’ higher officials consider that four competencies have paramount relevance now: organizational transformation (command of change management models, total quality management, and Higher education finance models); strategic management (strategic planning, general and team management); leadership (self-confidence, impact and influence on others); theoretical reflection previous to action (command of achievement orientation, conceptual thinking, information seeking, and directiveness/assertiveness).

Conclusions and Recommendations: Context is a key issue of leader effectiveness in order to develop an attuned scheme of competencies, that is, a set of competencies aligned with stakeholders’ perceptions about what effective leadership is. In the past, academic leaders exerted their role by applying routine behaviours based on command-and-control schemes within the limits established by the principal stakeholder surveillance. However, the literature increasingly recognizes that single prescriptions for leadership excellence no longer work.

When the winds of change blow harder, leaders must be equipped with a broad and complex array of knowledge and skills, that is, a brand-new portfolio of leadership competencies. This must be the goal for any formal training program.

Keywords: Spanish universities, higher education, leadership competencies.