chapter  IV
Leading Institutional Change through Better Policy Thinking
WithPatrick Schmidt
Pages 18

At a time in which the idea of leadership has become a commoditised ideal and fetishised at the individual level as a highly desirable attribute or even innate talent, leading in higher education has become a serious challenge. In this chapter, the author approaches the process of leading institutional change from a policy standpoint using the seminal work of Wildavsky (1988) to frame policy as both art and craft. The notion of craft places policy as justification, ruling, structure. This stance facilitates stake claiming and emphasises relations through procedures focused on solutions. Policy as art emphasises processes of discovery by incentivising processual parameters where feasibility and desirability intersect. The art metaphor opens up a new space for reframing traditional conceptions of policy, while presenting innovative policy thinking as a guide for institutional change. The chapter argues that traditional policy thinking focuses on the map rather than on the territory; the first is fixed and the latter constantly changing, the first asks for solutions and the latter for recurrent adaptability. The aim of this policy framing capacity is to insert a process-based understanding of leadership where central values are constituted by three capacities: (1) to generate interaction; (2) to take risks; and (3) to shift conversations. To demonstrate this notion, the author further draws from the policy theory of punctuated equilibrium (Sabatier, 2007), providing examples of where and how such a framework is functioning and strategies for where it is not.