Leaderhip in higher education: female executives in Vietnam and Australia

Year: 2018

Author: Lam, Thi Loan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

There are an increasing number of women in executive leadership positions in higher education within Vietnam and Australia. However, the gap between the number of women and men who have been successful in securing senior leadership roles in higher education is still large. This gap continues to create a number of barriers for women in gaining and maintaining these executive level positions. I call this “negotiating the labyrinth” (Eagly & Carli, 2007), a description for the maze-like journey through a range of barriers that women face along the leadership pathway. The higher the leadership level that women gain in universities, the more challenges they typically meet. Guiding by the concept of leadership styles of Burn (1978), the leadership frameworks of Fullan (2003), My research explored the extent to which participating women’s personal qualities and leadership abilities empowered them to acquire executive positions in higher education. In addition, the research explored how women who are currently in executive positions in higher education successfully negotiated the labyrinth, maintained their career trajectories and the strategic ways in which they managed their journeys.
I used a mixed methods approach, including an online survey (380 responses) and face-to-face interviews (24) of female executives in both Vietnam and Australia. In the conclusion, I propose a framework that may assist aspiring female leaders in Vietnam and Australia along their leadership journeys. The findings will potentially not only inform changes to organization processes, but also encourage more female leaders to seek and obtain executive level University positions.
Eagly, A., & Carli, L. L. (2007). Women and the labyrinth of leadership.   Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2007/09/women-and-the-labyrinth-of-leadership