Leadership practices by senior position holders in Higher Educational Research Institutes: Stealth power in action?

O'Connor P., Martin P. Y., Carvalho T., Hagan C. O., Veronesi L., Mich O., ...More

LEADERSHIP, vol.15, no.6, pp.722-743, 2019 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/1742715019853200
  • Journal Name: LEADERSHIP
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.722-743
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Using the concept of stealth power and a critical realist perspective, this article identifies leadership practices that obscure the centralisation of power, drawing on data from interviews with 25 academic decision-makers in formal leadership positions in HERIs in Ireland, Italy and Turkey. Its key contribution is the innovative operationalisation of stealth power and the inductive identification of four practices which obscure that centralised power, i.e. rhetorical collegiality, agenda control, in-group loyalty and (at a deeper level) the invisibility of gendered power. The purpose of the article is emancipatory: by creating an awareness of these leadership practices, it challenges their persistence.