Derailed : an interpretivist study of how senior-level higher education administrators experience and navigate job loss.

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This qualitative study used a multi-frame interpretivist approach to explore academic leaders’ involuntary or unwanted job departures—derailment. Informed by interviews with executive-level college and university administrators across North America who derailed and “rerailed” (found leadership roles again in higher education), this study (a) significantly expands prior limited administrator derailment literature, (b) offers fresh conceptualizations of how academic administrators experienced and navigated 46 job loss experiences, (c) sketches a conceptual framework for derailment experiences, (d) offers a derailment model, and (e) provides implications for future research and practice.

Higher education. Administration. Leadership. Derailment. Job loss. Mindset. Attribution. Stigma. Moral career. Vulnerability. Shame. Grit.