‘Like king, like subject’? The conditions for transformative leadership in India and South Africaa

Dina Zoe Belluigi*, Nandita Banerjee Dhawan, Grace Ese-Osa Idahosa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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This chapter is concerned with academic citizenry in higher education, and the conditions created within institutions for transformative leadership. This is central to the fitness-for-purpose of higher education institutions to drive the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Drawing from a mixed-method study, the chapter explores the patterns which emerged from literature, questionnaire responses, and semi-structured interviews about the problematics at play within six institutions in the post-colonial contexts of India and South Africa. The two upper middle-income contexts have strong constitutional commitments to democracy and social justice at the macro-level, with bold policy interventions undertaken at meso-level to address the legacies of exclusion and oppression in student enrollment and staff composition in HE. However, recent fraught dynamics and unrest within the sector in each country have brought renewed attention to the politics of participation and a breakdown in trust of governance and management.

In this study, the standpoint of key stakeholders was prioritized, including those in assigned leadership positions and academic staff. Particular attention was paid to gender and intersectional inequalities impacting academic staff, and what they revealed about the persistence of policy-implementation gaps and their relation to principle-implementation gaps. Concerns are raised about impoverished comprehensions of, and conditions for, sustainable ethical leadership which emerged across both contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRole of leaders in managing higher education
EditorsEnakshi Sengupta, Patrick Blessinger
Place of PublicationBengley
PublisherEmerald Publishing
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781800437326
ISBN (Print)9781800437333
Publication statusPublished - 05 Dec 2022


  • higher education
  • India
  • leadership
  • management
  • gender
  • equality
  • intersectionality
  • Minority


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