Literature Review on International Education
Various scholars have investigated the role of competence development during the modern age of information technology in supporting management activities. The global workplaces in different field require a kind of workforce with technical knowledge and leadership competence to influence change in their diverse workplaces. Consequently, educational settings, especially higher learning institutions, should adopt effective training models to develop skills and knowledge required in developing modern-day professionals.
Research shows that the trend and demand for competence cuts across educational fields, including healthcare management. Wissmann (2015) is one of the authors who has studied the subject involving the global use of information management in healthcare and the role of a competent professional in working with such systems. The profession is one of the most challenging for modern experts working in healthcare. Therefore, leaders should implement effective tools to train and develop such professionals to meet the demands of their workplace. Gibson, Abrams, and Crook (2015) take a similar perspective with Wissmann (2015) in exploring the subject on roles and skills necessary for the workforce transformation in health information management. Evidence from the two articles reveals the need for skills development as the role of a leader in training a workforce prepared for the global challenges posed by information technology development in healthcare among other work settings. It is evident that the use of information systems in healthcare demands a more competent workforce and management to improve quality of care.
Leadership is a critical part of success in learning institutions, and hence the need to explore the characteristics of a competent leader in these settings. The training institutions require individuals who can provide the right direction to the learners and develop them into effective professionals once they are ready to practice skills and knowledge developed through learning. Notman and Henry (2011) examined the qualities of an effective leader within the context of educational institutions. In their article, the authors reveal the critical success factors of school principals in New Zealand primary and secondary schools. One of the areas that relate to competence in leadership involves the skills necessary to become successful in leading educational institutions. The findings of the study would apply to educational leadership outside the New Zealand context because the subjects of the study have a global perspective. Institutions across the world require competent leadership to achieve organizational objectives, including improved performance outcomes.
Other studies have moved a step beyond suggesting the value of leadership in proposing the actual nature of such educational heads. Among such authors is Smythe (n.d.) who introduces the need for the development of a curriculum-driven leadership theory to effectively lead educational institutions and address the challenges inherent in the managerialist approach. The article provides evidence of the claims that the current approach to educational leadership is ineffective in addressing the global issues affecting learning institutions. Managers focus on the bureaucratic functions and fail to work with educators and learners to develop the required competence necessary when transitioning into practice. From a similar perspective with Wissmann (2015), Smythe (n.d.) emphasizes the role of the leader in developing the necessary knowledge to become competent in whichever area the student decides to venture. The primary concern of these scholars is the need for leaders to engage in teaching and developing skills necessary to become competent in the global environment as professionals in various fields, including healthcare.
The curriculum-driven leadership theory has been studied considering its applicability to practical settings such as in the healthcare field. The model is a form of instructional leadership where the institution’s heads are actively engaged in the learning process to develop leaders from the learners. While Smythe (n.d.) studied the development of the method in general education context, Meidani et al. (2012) narrow down to its use in health information management (HIM) curriculum. The HIM is a relatively new area of study and requires educational leaders to define effective approaches to achieve the training goals in higher educational settings. In addition, Meidani et al. (2012) propose the need for policy-makers and educators in health information management training to examine the possibility of designing a useful curriculum-based model for the training of professionals in the field.
Some studies narrow further down to the role of gender and leadership style in higher education. It is worth noting that gender is a global variable when studying leadership in different contexts, including education. Under those premises, King (2012) explores the theory of leadership as it affects women in educational settings. Like Meidani et al. (2012), King (2012) suggests the importance of training and skills development in the higher education context. However, King (2012) adds the concept of mentorship in developing the required level of leadership competence, especially for women leading in challenging educational settings such as in higher education context. Globally, women leaders have a unique and most challenging leadership path, necessitating for effective programs to support them as they advance in their careers. However, King (2012) does not provide the actual model necessary to develop women into effective leaders in educational settings.
The reviewed studies reveal global leadership roles in challenging environments. Wissmann (2015) and Notman and Henry (2011) consider the importance of leadership competence and skills development to meet the demands of health information management (HIM). The authors reveal the roles and responsibilities of managers in such settings, including communicating with the leader about the technical skills necessary to fill these roles. Smythe (n.d.) provides a more focused discussion on the specific aspects of leadership needed to meet the challenges in developing skills and competence in educational settings. According to the author, the managerialist approach to leadership cannot achieve the objectives of competent training among individuals in higher learning institutions. Smythe’s (n.d.) ideas are supported by Meidani et al. (2012) assertions, who propose the adoption of curriculum-driven leadership in higher education, especially in teaching complex areas such as the health information management (HIM). The research provides essential insight into the role of leadership in promoting the development of skills and competence in various professions.
Although the various authors agree on the need to develop a useful model of educational leadership to meet training objectives, they fail to agree on the implementation of the actual approach. For instance, Smythe (n.d.) and Meidani et al. (2012) propose the curriculum-driven model but do not provide adequate information on how such a model could work in practice. In fact, Meidani et al. (2012) cite the impossibility of blending the necessary skills and expertise in handling personal and public aspects of healthcare information in a comprehensive curriculum. The gap points to a need for further research on the practical way of implementing curriculum-driven leadership for HIM training in higher learning. Therefore, a practical model is critical in developing individuals with the necessary skills to work in the highly demanding HIM profession, nationally and globally.