A Study on Shaping Academic Leadership in Thailand’s Public Universities: The Role of Legislation and Organizational Culture
Universities under the continuous pressure of the global competition in turbulent times, have to change their governance models based on collegiality and democratic traditions to new ones based on academic leadership. Higher Education in Thailand, as in many countries, has moved towards being autonomous. Having accepted that autonomous status of the universities would lead them to be more productive and accountable, Thai government has laid down a policy to transform all public universities into autonomous universities. Consequently, there are currently 16 autonomous universities under the supervision of Higher Education Commission in Thailand.The purpose of this paper is to perform a critical analysis of the role played by legislation and organizational culture on academic leadership, in order to understand the contingency framework of any strategy of developing it. The research questions driving our investigation are the following: a) what are the stimulating effects of legislation and organizational culture on developing academic leadership? b) what are the restraining effects of legislation and organizational culture on developing academic leadership? and c) what is the perception of faculty staff in the Thai universities on developing academic leadership? The last question is motivated by the fact that this academic year in all Thai universities there were elections for the new governing bodies (ie: faculty councils and university senates) and new rectors, vice-rectors, deans and vice-deans of faculties and department heads based on a new legislation. Research results demonstrate that legislation and organizational culture are powerful shaping forces of academic leadership, but they must converge in order to create the necessary synergy of change. This study shows that the need to carry out academic leadership at universities in Thailand is emerging. Further research should focus on practical ways to change organizational culture and motivate academic leadership.
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