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A comparative study on turnaround leadership in higher education and the successful implementation of the UN’s sustainable development goals

A comparative study on turnaround leadership in higher education and the successful... Given the increased emphasis on embedding the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in the curriculum, research, engagement activities and operations of higher education institutions, this comparative study aims to replicate an earlier international study of Turnaround Leadership for Sustainability in Higher Education (TLSHE) in the unique context of Malaysia and Japan. This paper also presents a case for closer focus on developing Education for Sustainability (EfS) leaders in institutions of higher learning.Design/methodology/approachThis study is a quantitative comparative research. The authors collected data for EfS-related variables from lecturers affiliated with Malaysian and Japanese public and private universities. Building on the data and results from the TLSHE study, this study made a series of within- and between-sample descriptive comparisons from different angles and levels. To generalize the findings, this study used gender and experience outside higher education as control variables and compared the academics from the Malaysian and the Japanese institutions through the path modeling framework.FindingsThe comparisons showed that except for two domains, namely, contextual factors influencing EfS leadership and the EfS leadership development approaches, the means of all other domains based on the data collected from the Malaysian sample were the highest, followed by means from the international TLSHE sample, and finally the means from the Japanese sample. This study also observed that transparency, engagement with EfS initiatives at different levels, passion for teaching and learning, and creative and lateral thinking were among the top indicators. The inferential tests revealed significant differences between the academics from Japan and Malaysia as well.Practical implicationsThe findings of the analyses can be used to ensure that the selection and development of EfS leaders (in this case, lecturers who may be formal or informal EfS leaders), not just at the central but at the local level in the distinctive context of Japan and Malaysia, focus on what counts and the good ideas embodied in the 17 UN SDGs are actually put into practice. This study has also highlighted the policy implications with respect to the gender and the previous work experience of lecturers outside higher education sector in more detail.Originality/valueThis study compares the perceptions of two samples of academics from Asian countries with the perceptions of the international TLSHE sampled EfS leaders in terms of EfS leadership-related issues and therefore, increases the awareness of academic community in this regard. It also highlights the role of lecturers (e.g. professors) as intellectual academic leaders in achieving SDGs. Moreover, this study shows that lecturers’ gender and previous work experience outside higher education should be considered when developing and implementing policies on EfS leadership. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

A comparative study on turnaround leadership in higher education and the successful implementation of the UN’s sustainable development goals

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References (41)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1467-6370
eISSN
1467-6370
DOI
10.1108/ijshe-01-2022-0001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Given the increased emphasis on embedding the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in the curriculum, research, engagement activities and operations of higher education institutions, this comparative study aims to replicate an earlier international study of Turnaround Leadership for Sustainability in Higher Education (TLSHE) in the unique context of Malaysia and Japan. This paper also presents a case for closer focus on developing Education for Sustainability (EfS) leaders in institutions of higher learning.Design/methodology/approachThis study is a quantitative comparative research. The authors collected data for EfS-related variables from lecturers affiliated with Malaysian and Japanese public and private universities. Building on the data and results from the TLSHE study, this study made a series of within- and between-sample descriptive comparisons from different angles and levels. To generalize the findings, this study used gender and experience outside higher education as control variables and compared the academics from the Malaysian and the Japanese institutions through the path modeling framework.FindingsThe comparisons showed that except for two domains, namely, contextual factors influencing EfS leadership and the EfS leadership development approaches, the means of all other domains based on the data collected from the Malaysian sample were the highest, followed by means from the international TLSHE sample, and finally the means from the Japanese sample. This study also observed that transparency, engagement with EfS initiatives at different levels, passion for teaching and learning, and creative and lateral thinking were among the top indicators. The inferential tests revealed significant differences between the academics from Japan and Malaysia as well.Practical implicationsThe findings of the analyses can be used to ensure that the selection and development of EfS leaders (in this case, lecturers who may be formal or informal EfS leaders), not just at the central but at the local level in the distinctive context of Japan and Malaysia, focus on what counts and the good ideas embodied in the 17 UN SDGs are actually put into practice. This study has also highlighted the policy implications with respect to the gender and the previous work experience of lecturers outside higher education sector in more detail.Originality/valueThis study compares the perceptions of two samples of academics from Asian countries with the perceptions of the international TLSHE sampled EfS leaders in terms of EfS leadership-related issues and therefore, increases the awareness of academic community in this regard. It also highlights the role of lecturers (e.g. professors) as intellectual academic leaders in achieving SDGs. Moreover, this study shows that lecturers’ gender and previous work experience outside higher education should be considered when developing and implementing policies on EfS leadership.

Journal

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 3, 2023

Keywords: Japan; Malaysia; Academic leadership capability framework; Education for Sustainability (EfS) leadership; Turnaround Leadership for Sustainability in Higher Education (TLSHE)

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