A Quest for a New Model of Public University Governance That Promotes Incentives for Academic Excellence for Modern Vietnam: Lessons from Multi-site Comparative Case studies in East Asia

by Mai Ngo Tuyet

Institution: University of New South Wales
Department: UNSW
Year: 2014
Keywords: East Asia; Public university governance; Academic excellence; China; Vietnam; Hong Kong; Thailand; Incentives
Record ID: 1054000
Full text PDF: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/53583


This study aims to develop a new model of governance that will promote incentives for academic excellence in Vietnamese public universities. To achieve this aim, this study empirically investigated four models of public university governance in four East Asian contexts. Guided by the two mutually reinforcing theoretical lenses of neo-institutional and resource dependency theory, four comparative case studies of models of public university governance were conducted in four flagship public universities, one in Vietnam, and three others in Thailand, Hong Kong, and China, each with an international reputation for academic excellence and good practices of public university governance. Using a mix of research instruments, including formal documents (sourced from respective governments and universities); semi-structured interviews (with university executives); and surveys (among department leaders), each case study examined (1) the context of each model; (2) the degree of structural clarity; (3) the degree of resource dependence; (4) internal leadership responses; and (5) the impacts of structural clarity and resource dependence on internal leadership responses. Using multi-level thematic frameworks, each case study provided insights into its model of public university governance in context. The cross-case comparisons revealed that though models outside Vietnam, shaped by their distinctive contexts, have their particularities, they share some common features in model design and implementation. The major findings suggest that while additional resources are necessary, Vietnam���s current model of external control needs to be ���reoriented��� toward a proposed model of dual external supervision and support with central features of a ���higher��� degree of structural clarity and a ���lower��� degree of a university���s dependence on Government resources, which can significantly contribute to ���higher��� internal leadership responses, thus promoting incentives for academic excellence. This study is significant as it remediates the problem of minimal Vietnamese-led research, joining model design and implementation perspectives in providing sound guidance for Vietnamese policy makers and university leaders. Being positioned in the Vietnamese context, supported by rigorous theories, empirical data evidence, and the large body of literature on university governance, this proposed model, its associated lessons and recommendations have applicability both to Vietnam, and to similar countries.