Save this page

The behaviour of institutional leaders

There are a number of levels of leadership that must be effectively mobilised during mergers or the creation of federations. These include, but may not be confined to the College Board,  Principal, the Senior Management Team and other managers.


All leaders must ensure that at all times their actions are designed to serve the interests of the planned new merger or federated group of colleges. This will involve setting to one side, and being seen to set aside, personal interests. This requires absolute focus on the vision and values of the "new" college with clear, unambiguous , consistent messages which focus on the future. Whilst the past is the legacy brought to the new college this should not overshadow messages on the vision for the new college and what it seeks to deliver.

Furthermore, in the past there have been too many examples of inter-board and inter-principal conflict leading to time delays and poor decision making.

There have been examples of such conflicts, rather than sound educational or business reasons, leading to a breakdown in merger plans. Such cases wasted significant public funds.

Mullin[i], in his review of the City of Glasgow College merger, made the following recommendation regarding how potentially difficult situations may be supported:

"For large complex mergers, and mergers where relationship issues amongst existing boards and/or principals are known to exist, senior and expert facilitation of the process should be introduced."

SFC will support requests for leadership facilitation services. See Who to contact.

[i]Mullin, R. City of Glasgow College Merger Review. Report for Scottish Funding Council and City of Glasgow College, 2010



This guidance was developed in 2012 and will be reviewed.

Your feedback is important so let us know where you have used it or how it can be improved by contacting Linda McLeod, email: