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date: 25 June 2022

Educational Leadership and Self-Determination Theory in Collectivist Cultureslocked

Educational Leadership and Self-Determination Theory in Collectivist Cultureslocked

  • Amrita KaurAmrita KaurUniversiti Utara Malaysia
  •  and Mohammad NomanMohammad NomanUniversiti Utara Malaysia


The nature of practices of educational leaders and their outcome in terms of productivity and teacher motivation are greatly shaped by the sociocultural norms that regulate them. The sociocultural norms proposed by Hofstede are widely considered as the benchmark for national cultural examination and comparison, which suggests that collectivist cultures are characterized by higher scores on power distance and uncertainty avoidance and lower on individualism, masculinity, long-term orientation, and indulgence. These dimensions may exert positive, negative, or mixed influence, especially on organizations such as schools that constitute intricate work structures with a variety of stakeholders influencing them from multiple directions.

Educational leadership for effective change in school requires the ability to integrate traditional sociocultural norms with the global principles for effective outcomes. Work settings in collectivists cultures are characterized by hierarchy based on age, seniority, or position, and authority, conformity, and compliance are some of the prevalent elements that influence Asian school leadership practices. The issue of developing leadership practices by merging Western principles with indigenous ways that encourages more democratic participation of teachers is always been critical to effective leadership practices.

In the context of work-organization, self-determination theory (SDT) has emerged as an effective motivational theory that proposes autonomy, competence, and relatedness as three universal psychological needs; satisfaction of these needs would predict optimal outcomes. Providing autonomous work environments has been widely found to be the most effective of these principles that lead to higher productivity and enhanced teacher motivation. We propose that just like their individualistic culture counterparts, it is possible for school leaders in predominantly collectivist cultures to function in a need-supporting way to provide autonomous work environment for their teachers to yield desired outcomes.


  • Educational Administration and Leadership

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