An Instrumental Case Study Analysis of Anticipatory Leadership Practices in Community Colleges

Abe Johnson, Stephanie J. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This qualitative instrumental case study explored the experiences and perceptions of seven community college leaders of their use of anticipatory leadership. Two research questions guided this study: (a) How do community colleges use anticipatory leadership to respond to internal and external changes? (b) How do community college leaders use anticipatory leadership principles for problem solving? The themes that emerged to address question one were engagement with others is required to respond to change effectively, data analysis and currency of knowledge are required to identify gaps and to respond to them, leaders must be willing to take calculated risks, and leaders must communicate effectively in order for change to occur. The themes that emerged to address question two were analysis of data is instrumental to identifying and closing the gaps in institutions, leading to better informed decisions; and anticipatory leadership reduces the need to use reactionary leadership practices. The findings of the study are that the participants identified and supported that anticipatory leadership practices are effective for responding to change. The anticipatory leadership practices highlighted as needed by the participants included the need for leaders who are engaged, have the skills and ability to utilize data to make decisions, are current in their higher education knowledge, take calculated risks when needed, and can communicate effectively. These skills are needed for community college leaders to be able to be proactive versus reactionary in their decision-making, as well as effective with their gap analysis identification, trend predictions, decision-making, and problem solving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-404
Number of pages16
JournalCommunity College Journal of Research and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 3 2018


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