This dissertation, framed in modernity, examines the connections and interconnections of its externalities and their implications for one dynamic genre of Canadian post-secondary institutions: the special purpose teaching university (née, university college). In particular, the ‘peer administered academic department,’ typical of the flat organizational paradigm of the university college and its reliance on the inherent goodwill of peer administration in the design and delivery of programs, is explored. The distributed leadership of flat organizations manifested in peer administration both originates out of and is vulnerable to modernity’s influences. In the horizontal organization, peer administration relies heavily on the goodwill, collaboration, and cooperation of its members. Hence, conditions and characteristics that endanger relationships, and thus the quality of collegiality, decisions and, ultimately, action, are the focus of a critique of presumptions of egalitarianism. Environments in which radical individualism prevails and rankism is permitted, in concert with modernity’s externalities such as communications technologies, self-governance, and globalism directly impact flat organizations. Commonly held presumptions of democracy, the level playing field, the inclusiveness of Canadian pluralism, the benefits of technology, and the innate cooperation of individuals, are interrogated with a view to uncovering their impact on the peer administration model. Finally, a model of clear leadership is presented as a way of fostering goodwill, developing more effective leadership strategies, and improving the experience and effectiveness of members of peer administered academic departments.
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Thesis advisor: Bai, Heesoon
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