Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Higher education reputation, Social exchange theory, Authentic leadership, Distributed leadership, Higher education brand, Organizational change


Higher education institutions spend considerable effort developing and maintaining quality educational programs and experiences for their students. However, these great programs and experiences can become best kept secrets if the institution is unknown. A positive reputation can contribute to student recruitment; successful career placement for graduates; greater retention of students, faculty, and staff; overall student satisfaction; and greater opportunities for the institution. A poor reputation, on the other hand, can negatively impact its success in recruitment; graduate career placements; and student, faculty, and staff retention. How does an institution develop and build a positive reputation and become more widely known and favourably regarded? This organizational improvement plan explores the theories and processes of leading an internationally focussed, private, for-profit degree-granting business school located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada through a process of change to enhance its reputation. The plan focusses on the role of leadership and the processes to successfully navigate change in an institution through the application of two leading change frameworks: the change path model and Kotter’s accelerate model for change management. This study demonstrates how authentic and distributed leadership theories are most appropriate for reputation development and applies social exchange theory to underpin recommended approaches and a strategy to build an institution’s reputation from the inside out.