Enquiries into the governance, structure and management of higher education institutions across the globe have stimulated changes to the legislative and policy frameworks within which universities operate and to their organizational structures and processes. These changes have subsequently brought into question the proper role of academics in relation to the leadership and management of their departments/institutions. While mainstream academic staff conceive of academic leadership as being strictly associated with teaching, research and community outreach, university administrators and policy makers conceptualize it more broadly. Their definitions often include the management of change, quality, information, finance, and physical and human resources - functions that many mainstream academics perceive as being the responsibility of departmental/institutional administrative or support staff. Such differences create major challenges for academic development units. What type of training should they provide? Should they embrace activities that support these new conceptions of leadership and management? These are among the central issues explored in this paper.