Confucian Values and School Leadership in Vietnam
This research focuses on school leadership in the Vietnamese context, particularly the Confucian-influenced context within Vietnamese cultural boundaries. Confucian values are believed to be the significant and dominant value structure within Vietnam, therefore this research seeks to understand how Vietnamese school leaders exercised leadership within the construct of a Confucian discourse. It examines how the exercise/practice of four leadership functions (exercising power, building relationship, making decisions, and conflict solving) are influenced by Vietnamese cultural values. A qualitative research approach was applied for this phenomenological interpretive study. Four methods of data collection were adopted, consisting of interviews (individual and focus-group interviews), observations, document analysis and questionnaires. School leaders and teachers, drawn from three case study schools were invited as participants. The findings suggest that, although Confucian thought has waned in the contemporary Vietnam, Confucian values are still reflected in participants' perceptions about school leadership and in the manner of everyday leadership and management practices, particularly in the four pre-defined leadership functions. Confucian authority chains, seen as the paternalistic culture of obedience and respecting authority, have transferred into contemporary Vietnamese school leadership and management. These are preserved and reinforced by the political and administrative structures and contemporary leadership practices. A reconceptualised model of có uy leadership is offered, together with suggestions for leadership effectiveness based on Confucian values within a Vietnamese context.