A population is defined as a set of entities in which all the measurements of interest to the researcher are represented (Powers, Meenaghan, & Toomey, 1985). Black (1999) delineates a population as a group that shares a set of common traits.
According to Welmann and Kruger (2005) these entities or groups may be individuals, groups, organisations, human products, events or conditions to which they are exposed. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2016) reason that a research population refers to the complete set of cases or group members. These definitions offered for a population since the 1980s refer to a group that has knowledge about the problem under investigation.
The population for this study consisted of the executive management, councils, deans and heads of departments at the two public institutions of higher learning in Namibia. This study opted for this particular stratum of the entire population for the following reasons; firstly the councils of the two public institutions of higher learning are the supreme governing bodies that oversee the operations. These councils have representatives from internal and external stakeholders. The internal stakeholders on councils are executive management, academics, support staff and the students. The external stakeholders represented on these councils are the representatives from the local authorities, alumni and the government.
The views of the chairpersons, as the leaders of premier governing bodies of these public institutions of higher learning can enhance the reliability and validity of the data collected.The executive management of these two institutions are responsible for the day to day running of these institutions. The Vice-Chancellor is the head of academic affairs, finance and administration supported by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, who is in charge of the core functions at their institutions.
At UNAM the three Pro Vice-Chancellors are in charge of academic affairs; innovation, research and development; and administration and finance. At NUST the two Deputy Vice-Chancellors are put in charge of academic affairs and research, and administration and finance. The executive management is the custodian of the vision, mission and strategies of their institutions of higher learning.
The reason for this stratum of the population is that it deals directly with academic affairs and teaching at these public institutions. This stratum of the population is the vice-chancellor, as the head, assisted by the Pro/Deputy Vice-Chancellors in charge of the two main mandates of their institutions namely academic affairs and research. The perception of leadership of executive management of the academic cadre towards organisational transformation is of utmost importance, because their leadership styles will filter through to all levels in their institutions.
The deans and HODs of the various academic faculties and academic departments represent middle and lower management of the academic cadre at these public institutions of higher learning. Their opinions, perceptions and views on leadership can represent what they experience in their various faculties and departments. Table 4.1 on page 170 shows the population used for this study.Table 4.1: Population for This StudyPOPULATION GROUP UNAM NUSTCouncil members with voting rights (excluding the Executive Management) 12 11Executive Management 7 4Deans of Faculties and Schools (excluding the Dean of Students) 8 6Heads of Departments 69 20TOTAL 96 41GRAND TOTAL=137 (96+41)4.
4.1 Population for the University of Namibia According to the University of Namibia Act of 1992 the Council of UNAM consists of: the Vice-Chancellor, the Pro Vice-Chancellors, not more than six people appointed by the president, four members of the Senate, two members of the alumni, the two Permanent Secretaries of Finance and Education, one person from the City of Windhoek, one member from the administrative staff, one or two persons, based on knowledge and experience, not residing in Namibia and two students from the SRC. The Bursar, the Chief Librarian, the various Directors and the Dean of the Faculty of Law serve as advisors for the Council only, but do not have any voting rights.
The Registrar is the secretary to the Council. This study opted to have the Chairperson and the SRC Representative to Council as part of the sample. The reason is to gain the view of the student, the most important stakeholder as well as the perception of the chairperson as the leader of the highest board of UNAM. The Executive Management of UNAM consists of the Vice-Chancellor, the three Pro Vice-Chancellors, the Bursar, the Registrar and the Chief Librarian. The three Pro Vice-Chancellors are in charge of the Academic Affairs; Innovation, Research and Development; and Administration and Finance. The part of this population chosen for this study is the Vice-Chancellor, the Pro Vice-Chancellor: Academic Affairs and the Pro Vice-Chancellor: Innovation, Research and Development who are directly involved in academic affairs and research.
The Deans represent the middle level management of the academic cadre who deal with academic affairs and research. The Deans head the eight academic faculties at UNAM. The 69 HODs are in charge of the various academic departments in the eight faculties and represent the lower level management of the academic cadre. The Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor: Academic Affairs, Pro Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Development, deans and HODs, according to the Act of the University of Namibia of 1992 are part of the Senate of UNAM. The governing and monitoring of instructions, examination, lectures, curricula and research are vested in the Senate (University of Namibia Act of 1992).
4.4.2 Population for Namibia University of Science and TechnologyAccording to the Namibia University of Science and Technology Act of 2015 the Council consists of the Vice-Chancellor, the two Deputy Vice-Chancellors, a minimum of six people and a maximum of nine, of which at least three should be Namibian Government representatives, one person from industry, one person from the Association of Local Authorities of Namibia appointed by the Minister of Higher Education, Innovation and Training. The academic and support staff have two representatives on Council, one member from the alumni and one member from the SRC. According to the Act one person from outside Namibia may be appointed, assuming that no Namibian with that specific skill or expertise is available.
The Registrar’s duty on Council is only that of secretary. This study opted to include the chairperson and the SRC representative on Council in the sample. The reason is to gain the view of the student, the most important stakeholder as well as that of the chairperson as the leader of the highest board at NUST.
The executive management consists, according to the Act of the Namibia University of Science and Technology of 2015, of the Vice-Chancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar. NUST has two Deputy Vice-Chancellors, one for Administration and Finance and one for Academic Affairs and Research. The Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic affairs and Research are directly involved in the two main obligations of their institution, namely research and teaching. The Deans, as the middle level management of the academic cadre, head the six academic faculties at NUST.
The 20 HODs are in charge of the academic departments and represent the lower level management of the academic cadre. The Deans and HODs, according to the Namibia University of Science and Technology Act of 2015, are part of the Senate of NUST. The academic authority and quality assurance, systematising of teaching, including assessment and learning, community engagement and research are vested in the Senate (Namibia University of Science and Technology, Statutes Rules and Regulations of 2016).This study chose this stratum of the population because the researcher anticipates that it could provide valuable answers to the inquiry. The reason why both public institutions of higher learning in Namibia were targeted is to assess the perception of both public institutions of higher learning on the two variables of this study. This argument for the stratum of the population and why the two institutions were targeted is supported by the views of Saldana (2015).