Time management and leadership orientation: An empirical study of student affairs administrators at four-year colleges and universities in Connecticut and Massachusetts

Date of Completion

January 2003


Education, Administration|Education, Higher




The purpose of this study was to examine the time management practices and leadership orientation of student affairs administrators at four-year colleges and universities. Today's student affairs administrator (SAA) is called upon to perform many duties and satisfy the needs of diverse constituencies on campus. The SAA must perform these tasks in a time of constricting resources and in an environment that is often times hostile to the SAA's claims of professional legitimacy. Attrition rates and job dissatisfaction continue to increase. In order for SAAs to survive and advance personally and professionally, they must develop proficiency in the areas of effective time management and the use of multiple leadership “frames.” ^ This study surveyed student affairs administrators at four-year colleges and universities in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Time management practices were measured using the Executive Time Management Instrument. Leadership orientation was assessed using Bolman and Deal's (1997) Leadership Orientations Survey (LOS). Individual characteristics of respondents including gender and job level were obtained. A total of 117 respondents participated in this study. Five null hypotheses were developed to test differences among SAAs with respect to time management effectiveness, leadership type, and utilization of various leadership frames. The hypotheses were tested for significance at the .05 level. Statistical tests used included the independent samples t-test and one-way analysis of variance. ^ Based upon the findings of this study it was determined that (1) SAAs who are able to use a fully balanced leadership frame approach are more effective managers of time than are SAAs who use only one or two leadership frames; (2) senior level SAAs utilize the political leadership frame to a greater degree than do entry level SAAs; (3) male and female SAAs do not differ with respect to either time management effectiveness or utilization of the four leadership frames tested by the LOS; and (4) SAAs among different job levels did not differ with respect to their time management effectiveness. The findings of this study present SAAs with several opportunities for professional development as well as personal reflection. Recommendations were made for future research and instrument refinement. ^