Sustainable Leadership Practices in Higher Education Institutions: An Analytical Review of Literature

  • Miiro Farooq
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


One of the key aspects in higher education institutions is sustainable leadership strategy with the need to account for the core values of the organisation and its stability. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the sustainable leadership practices towards transformation and sustainability of the higher education sector. Since there is still a gap in the existing framework utilised in higher education institutions, the study opted for empirical findings of Lambert’s (2012) model to analyse the findings of the previous studies done on the same subject in order to guide the framework of the paper. Six emergent themes were identified after analytical review: depth learning and integrity value, attributed to instructional leaders’ alignment to their mission; strategic vision, the length through endurance and succession, the breadth which can be achieved through collaboration and emphasised for its importance as a daily skill for information sharing; justice where personal interests are abandoned, diversity through cohesion and complexity; resourcefulness, where leaders utilise internal and external partnerships to improve local communities and maintain competitive advantage; communication, which was emphasised for its importance as a daily skill for information sharing; and lastly conservation, which requires leaders to learn from the past in order to form an ingenuity for the future progress of an institution.


Sustainable leadership practices Leadership challenges transformation of higher education 


  1. Albert, M. (1993). Capitalism vs capitalism: How America’s obsession with individual achievement and short-term profit has led it to the brink of collapse. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows.Google Scholar
  2. Aras, G., & Crowther, D. (2008). Governance and sustainability. Management Decision, 46(3), 433–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Avery, G. C. (2005). Leadership for sustainable futures: Achieving success in a competitive world. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Avery, G. C., & Bergsteiner, H. (2010). Honeybees & Locusts: The business case for sustainable leadership. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. Republished in 2011 Routledge, International version Sustainable Leadership: Honeybee and Locust Approaches, Routledge, International Version.Google Scholar
  5. Bolman, L., & Deal, T. (1992). Leading and managing: Effects of context, culture, and gender. Educational Administration Quarterly, 28(3), 314–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bossink, B. A. G. (2007). Leadership for sustainable innovation. International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development, 6(2), 135–149. intellect Ltd.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bycio, P., Hackett, R., & Joyce, A. S. (1995). Further assessments of Bass’s (1985) conceptualization of transactional and transformational leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80, 468–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chettiparamb, A., (2007). Interdisciplinarity: a literature review. Report, Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning Group.Google Scholar
  9. Colbert, B., & Kurucz, E. (2007). Three conceptions of triple bottom line business sustainability and the role for HRM, Human Resource Planning. 30.Google Scholar
  10. Davies, M., Devlin, M. (2019) Interdisciplinary higher education. Davies, M., Devlin, M. Tight, M. (Eds.), Interdisciplinary higher education: perspectives and practicalities, Emerald, United Kingdom, pp. 3–28.Google Scholar
  11. Dyllick, T., & Hockerts, K. (2002). Beyond the business case for corporate sustainability. Business Strategy and the Environment, 11(2), 130–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eccles, R., Ioannou, I., & Serafeim, G. (2011). The impact of a corporate culture of sustainability on corporate behaviour and performance. Harvard Business School Working Paper 12-035.Google Scholar
  13. Escrigas, C., Polak, E. E., & Jegede, O. (2011). The joint GUNi-IAU-AAU project: The promotion of sustainable development by higher education institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.Google Scholar
  14. Fullan, M. (2005). Proffesional learning communities writ large (pp. 1–10). Bloomington: National Education Services.Google Scholar
  15. Hargreaves, A., & Fink, D. (2006). Sustainable leadership. San Francisco: Wiley.Google Scholar
  16. Hilb, M. (2006). New corporate governance: Successful board management tools. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Kantabutra, S., & Saratun, M. (2013). Sustainable leadership: Honeybee practices at Thailand’s oldest university. International Journal of Educational Management, 27, 356–376. Scholar
  18. Lambert, S. (2012). Special Feature Papers invited following the Education Studies Postgraduate Conference, University of Bedfordshire (Polhill campus, Bedford). 13 July 2012 A multi - dimensional approach to principalship, 3(1), 20–26.Google Scholar
  19. Leithwood, K. (1994). “Leadership for school restructuring”, Educational Administration Quarterly, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 498–518.Google Scholar
  20. Leslie, D. W. & Fretwell, E. K., Jr. (1996). Wise moves in hard times: Creating and managing resilient colleges and universities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  21. Magnus, E. (2009). Student, som alle andre. En studie av hverdagslivet til studenter med nedsatt funksijonsevne [A student like all the others. A study of everyday life of disabled students]. Doctoral dissertation. Norwegian University of Technology and Science, Trondheim, Norway.Google Scholar
  22. Munitz, B. (1995). Wanted: New leadership in higher education. Planning for Higher Education, 24(1), 9–16.Google Scholar
  23. Scott, T. I. M., Mannion, R., Davies, H. U. W. T. O., & Marshall, M. N. (2003). Implementing culture change in health care: Theory and practice. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 15(2), 111–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Suriyankietkaew, P. (2013). Emergent leadership paradigms for corporate sustainability: A proposed model. The Journal of Applied Business Research, 29, 1.Google Scholar
  25. Wales, T. (2013). Organizational sustainability: What is it, and why does it matter? Review of enterprise and management studies, 1, 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Islamic University in UgandaInternational Islamic University MalaysiaKuala LumpurMalaysia

Personalised recommendations