Successful school principalship in Thailand: a literature review

Dhirapat Kulophas, Philip Hallinger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we seek to understand the definition and practices of successful school principalship in Thailand by reviewing selected literature extracted from the Thai-Journal Citation Index database. After completion of the search and screening process, 32 articles were included in the review. The articles were coded using qualitative analysis software and the results synthesized in terms of definition of successful school principalship and associated leadership practices. The findings revealed that successful school principalship in Thailand is defined as general excellence in school management processes, professional recognition, or attainment of highly regarded professional rank. This contrasts with Western nations where demonstrated impact on school effectiveness is often identified as a criterion for successful principalship. The difference is explained by Thai cultural norms where norms of collectivism and power distance norms give precedence to process over performance. While the review was able to identify principal practices that are perceived as “successful” in the Thai literature, the validity of this exercise was hindered by the often-ambiguous basis on which conclusions were drawn by scholars. Finally, the review elaborates how political and societal factors in the Thai context shape principals' values, practices, and decision-making processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Education
Subtitle of host publicationFourth Edition
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780128186299
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Leadership
  • Principals
  • Review
  • Schools
  • Successful school principalship
  • Thailand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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