Middle managers : managing change in a Lao higher education institution
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Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/2224
Academic middle managers in Lao higher education have a pivotal role in managing changes and academic curricula. They have become a significant force in the current context of Lao higher education since their expertise and knowledge are utilised to effectively manage change, yet they still have many difficulties and challenges as universities and higher education institutions in Laos have undergone significant changes. This qualitative research investigated the perspectives of senior managers and academic middle managers in relation to the academic middle manager’s role in managing change, the perspectives of successful change, and the challenges that the academic middle manager faces when managing change. Two data gathering methods were employed: a semi-structured interview with five senior managers, and an open-ended questionnaire with forty academic middle managers from five faculties of a Lao higher education institution. The findings of this study revealed three key roles of academic middle managers: taking initiatives to lead change, interpreting strategies, policies and plans into practice, and representing the faculty senior management. The research also showed that successful change management was associated with creating a clear vision, planning, leading, monitoring and evaluating the practice of change regularly, change knowledge and personal capabilities, and communication skills. The research also indicated two major challenges faced by academic middle managers: carrying out the role effectively to interpret strategies and policies into practice, and changing the culture. This research highlights the need for the Lao Ministry of Education, higher education institutions, and senior faculty managers to acknowledge the contribution of academic middle managers as agents of change and to provide them with adequate support. Also, a sound change model is needed for effectively guiding the leadership and management of change in Lao higher education institutions.