Effective academic leadership is a complicated issue to investigate because of its intangibility and potential consequences. In addition, it plays an essential role in the success of institutions as well as being an important factor in improving quality performance of faculty members, administrators and qualified alumni. In this study mixed methods was used to develop a model of Islamic Azad University (IAU) effective academic leadership in Iran. Qualitative approach involved content analysis through identifying, categorizing and verifying the constructs of effective academic leadership dimensions, its barriers and its challenges. Open-ended questions and in-depth interviews with IAU academic leaders in managerial positions were performed. Quantitative approach was conducted in form of a nationwide survey and analyzing the quantitative data by using descriptive statistics to determine the perceptions and preferences of faculty members regarding organizational culture at IAU branches in Iran. Then, a draft model in the multilevel pie diagram was developed by merging the results through developing procedures. After that, the model was proposed to IAU and international experts for validation.
The key results of this study based on theoretical framework and analyzing the qualitative and quantitative data, showed that IAU effective academic leadership dimensions could be categorized into three scopes of setting direction, developing organization and developing people in three levels of administration (central office level, branch level and faculty level) while, the barriers to effective academic leadership were proved to be centralization and bureaucratic hierarchy structure, budget deficiency in some branches, ineffective networking in communication, and social, political and cultural intervention, insufficient high qualified and merit human resource.