Confucian values and school leadership in Vietnam: Exploring the influence of culture on principal decision making

Thang Dinh Truong, Philip Hallinger, Kabini Sanga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


There is an emerging global consensus that the knowledge base in educational leadership and management must offer a deeper examination of leadership practice across a more diverse set of national contexts. Nonetheless, a recent review of the literature in this field concluded that this challenge has yet to be adequately addressed with respect to research in Asia. This study was an in-depth, qualitative examination of how the decision-making practices of Vietnamese school principals respond to their socio-cultural context. The study employed Hofstede’s ‘dimensions of national culture’ to aid in this analysis of Vietnamese school leadership. Qualitative data were used to construct case studies of principal decision-making in three Vietnamese schools. The findings highlight the strong influence of power distance and collectivism on the decision making of Vietnamese school principals. The results illuminate the value of adopting an ‘indigenous perspective’ on school leadership. Our description of how socio-cultural values shape the practice of school leadership in Vietnam offers a useful contrast with descriptions from mainstream research on educational leadership and management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-100
Number of pages24
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Asia
  • Vietnam
  • decision making
  • leadership
  • management
  • school principal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management


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