A Framework for understanding leadership at a university in transition in Cambodia


Om Sokha

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education Major in Educational Leadership and Management


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Educational Leadership and Management

Thesis Adviser

Roland Nino Agoncillo

Defense Panel Chair

Sr. Teresa Yasa

Defense Panel Member

Jocelyn Cruz
Minie Rose Lapinid
Runvi Manguerra
Maria Virlinda Tee


This dissertation is an in-depth single case study using qualitative methods on leadership style and practices in the context of a Cambodian public higher education institution experiencing transition. The university, under the leadership of a new president, is aiming to become Cambodias flagship university through the quality of its teaching and research and by producing well-qualified graduates who can respond to Cambodias many development needs. The dissertation investigates three main areas, mainly through researching the views of stakeholders. The three main areas investigated are: the reasons motivating leaders to bring change in the university, the styles and practices of leaders in the university as they try to bring change, and the progress of this change.

The theoretical basis for the dissertation was influenced by the organizational change model developed by Kotter (1996) and by the leadership frame approach developed by Bolman and Deal (2008). The Cambodian context also contributed to the theoretical basis as aspects of leadership theories developed in Western countries do not always apply well in other countries such as Cambodia as local approaches to leadership such as patron-client relationships must also be considered.

A triangulated data collection method of interviews, documents and observations was used to collect the case evidence. Seventeen participants, most of who were in leadership positions, participated in the interviews. They included senior leadership staff, foreign advisors and academics, and Cambodian academic staff and students.

The study found that institutional internal reasons for changes such as the weakness of the old system and the pressure from younger academics influenced change and that external reasons for changes such as Cambodian government policies and the pressures of regionalization and globalization did too.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in

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