Leadership Practices in Higher Education in Mongolia

Higher Education    Managers/Executives/Administrators

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TITLE Leadership Practices in Higher Education in Mongolia
College of Education
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Doctoral Dissertation: April 2000

To explore the leadership practices exercised by higher education leaders in Mongolia from the perspective of American leadership concepts.

The sample consisted of 20 Rectors, 20 Deans, 40 Department Heads, and 200 faculty members from 10 public and 10 private higher education institutions. The LPI Self and Observers were translated into Mongolian; participants also provided some demographic information. Fifteen percent of Rectors, 50 percent of the Deans, and 22.5 percent of Department Heads were female. Age generally varied as a function of rank. Most leaders (71%) had assumed their positions within the past three years.

The author selected the LPI from among other leadership instruments because: "there are no statements that directly reflect American cultural values that could potentially confuse respondents from other nations" (p. 31) and "the response options on the LPI are fairly straightforward" (p. 32).

The results revealed that higher education leaders in Mongolia were rated as moderate in terms of their practices even by their own self-assessment. Overall, the ratings on all five leadership practices were lower than of college and university leaders in the U.S. Additionally, the ratings of followers were significantly lower than self-ratings. The pattern of scores were similar for all groups of leaders, from Enabling, Modeling, Encouraging, Challenging and Inspiring. ANOVA results revealed no significant differences in how Rectors, Deans, and Department Heads rate themselves on the five leadership practices. LPI-Self scores tended to decrease in frequency as a function of hierarchical level, except for Enabling and Encouraging. LPI-Observer scores generally decreased from Rectors to Deans but rated Department Heads higher than Deans except for Challenging. However, LPI-scores were only significantly higher than LPI-Observer scores on Enabling for all three hierarchical levels. Deans also rated themselves significantly higher than their Observers on Modeling and Encouraging.

Between leaders from public and private institutions, only the leadership practice of Inspiring showed any significantly differences (with leaders from public institutions rating themselves higher). Observers’ scores were significantly higher on all five leadership practices for leaders of public institutions compared with private institutions. There were no significant differences in the leadership practices of leaders appointed during different eras (pre 1990, 1990-1996, after 1996) on either the LPI-Self or LPI-Observer.

The author suggests that leaders in higher education institutions in Mongolia are learning about leadership practices by trail and error during the country’s transition from a socialist to a democratic system.