Although Leader-member exchange (LMX) has its limitations, when applied to the role of the Student Centre Manager it is extremely useful. LMX is a relationship based theory of leadership based on the interactions between a supervisor and an employee. It recognizes the ability of high quality relationships to create job satisfaction, commitment and innovation. In the case of the Student Centre Manager, the role requires that staff are satisfied, effective relationships are built between staff, students and academics, and that the Student Centre offers the highest and latest quality service. To analyze how LMX can aid the role of Student Centre Manager, the position will be examined from three areas most vital to performing the role successfully. These are stakeholder management, performance management and innovation.
Firstly, LMX and the role of the Student Center Manager will be explained. LMX theory has evolved over the last 25 years. It was first introduced by George Graen and his colleagues, as Vertical Dyad Linkage (Dansereau, Graen, & Haga, 1975), where leaders were discovered to develop differentiated relationships with their direct reports. According to Graen and Ulh-Bien (1995), today LMX theory states that effective leadership processes occur when leaders (managers) and followers (employees) are able to develop mature relationships. Leaders and followers engage in a role-making process to establish working partnerships. These partnerships or dyads are either high-quality exchanges characterized by mutual trust, respect, and obligation or low quality relationships of low trust, respect and obligation. High quality relationships are beneficial to the manager and the employee. Less supervision is required, workers can be relied upon and are more likely to go beyond normal job expectations. Employees benefit from extra support, access to greater information and resources and are generally more satisfied and motivated. LMX developed as research began to investigate the nature of these relationships and the implications they have on organizations. However, LMX theory has limitations that have hindered its wide acceptance. For instance, LMX research has used a variety of measuring scales and classification of LMX relationship, whether it is uni-dimensional or multidimensional (Dienesch & Liden, 1986) is still debatable. This has caused problems replicating results and being able to draw conclusive evidence about the benefits of LMX. However, as will be demonstrated, LMX has many strengths that are highly useful to the role of the Student Services Manager.
Role of Manager of Student Centre
Before applying LMX, a detailed understanding of the role of the Student Centre Manager is necessary. With the introduction of the Melbourne Model came the development of the ‘one stop shop’ student centres to provide quality student centric services. The Student Centre Manager is responsible for the delivery of excellent, comprehensive and integrated student services through this single point of interaction with students (job description, 325-101 assignment guidelines, 2008). The manager will oversee many service areas including recruitment, student information and course advice, teaching services and professional practice. As such the manager will need to build quality relationships with staff and students to ensure all parties are satisfied with the service provided. As previously stated, LMX’s usefulness will be demonstrated by looking at three key responsibilities of the Student Center Manager.
A major role of the Manager of the Student Centre is to build effective relationships with...