Exploring Leadership & Learning Theories in Asian Countries : Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen

Our esteemed International Advisory Board Members include the following Professors/ Scholars:

Stephen E. Anderson
University of Toronto, Canada

Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid
INTI University College, Malaysia

Bijoy Barua
East-West University, Bangladesh

Brian J. Caldwell
University of Melbourne, Australia

Tien-Hui Chiang
National University of Tainan, Taiwan

Jagdeep S. Chhokar

Ricardo Chiva
University Jaume I, Spain

Aziz Choudry
McGill University, Canada

David Collinson
Management School, Lancaster University, UK

Christopher Day
University of Nottingham, UK

Colin Evers
University of New South Wales, Australia

Alex Faria
Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil

Ayla Goksel
Mother Child Education Foundation, Turkey

S. Gopinathan
National Institute of Education, Singapore

Philip Hallinger
Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, China

Professor Harukiyo Hasegawa
Doshisha University, Japan

Ruth Hayhoe
University of Toronto, Canada

Jamaliah Abdul Hamid
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia

Zafar Iqbal
National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Pakistan

Dima Jamali
American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Yamuna Kachru
University of Illinois, USA

Alan Kantrow
Moscow School of Management, Russia

Dip Kapoor
University of Alberta, Canada

Mohd Azhari Abdul Karim
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Malaysia

Abdul Malek Abdul Karim
Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia

Krishna Kumar
Director, National Council of Educational Research & Training, India

Ora Wai-yu Kwo
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Kenneth Leithwood
University of Toronto, Canada

Romie Frederick Littrell
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Shantha Liyanage
University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Jacky Lumby
University of Southampton, UK

Sergio G. Matviuk
Regent University, USA

Muhammad Memon
Aga Khan University, Pakistan

Pak Tee Ng
National Institute of Education, Singapore

Stella M. Nkomo
University of Pretoria, South Africa

Narcisa Paredes-Canilao
University of the Philippines, Philippines

Martin Parker
University of Leicester, UK

Wilfred J. Perera
National Institute of Education, Sri Lanka

Rajesh K. Pillania
Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, India

Professor Fazal Rizvi
University of Illinois, USA

Andreas Schleicher
Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), France

Yusuf Sidani
American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Nadeem Omar Tarar
National College of Arts , Pakistan

Peter G. Taylor
National Institute of Education, Singapore

Konai Helu Thaman
University of the South Pacific Suva, Fiji

Ethel Agnes P. Valenzuela

Professor Simone Volet
Murdoch University, Australia

Allan Walker
Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong

Margaret J. Wheatley
The Berkana Institute, USA

Lee Wing On
Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, China

Wu Zongjie
Zhejiang University, China

[ Full List ]
Abstracts: 15 JUN, 2010
Early Bird Registration: 15 NOV, 2010
Full Papers Due: 15 DEC, 2010
[ Submissions ]
- Anders Örtenblad (Sweden)
- Muhammad Babur (Pakistan)
- Roshni Kumari (Pakistan)
[ Details ]


Malaysian Society for Educational Administration and Management (MSEAM) Asia Pacific Educational Research Association (APERA)
Persatuan Pendidikan Malaysia Yayasan Ilmuwan

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Journal Special Issues

Leadership, Sage!
Special Issue on ‘Leadership in Asia' (Open Call for Papers)
Globalizations , Taylor & Francis
Special Issue on ‘Globalizations in Asia: Imitation, Adaptation or Innovation?' (Open Call for Papers)
Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Taylor & Francis
Special Issue on ‘ Learning in Asia'

Asian Business & Management , Palgrave Macmillan
Special Issue on ‘Humanistic values and social issues in Asian management'

The Learning Organization,
Special Issue on ‘Learning organizations: the Asian perspective’ (to be published in November 2011 as issue 6, volume 18)
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Exploring Leadership & Learning Theories in Asia (ELLTA) Conference 2011: Call for Papers

The core emphasis of the conference is on understanding Asian perspectives on leadership and learning. Leadership and learning, like various other concepts, are often viewed/ treated as global. Similar tendency is observed in case of ‘organizational learning' and ‘learning organization', which have also been approached in terms of general theories. However, the majority of these theories which claim to have global application originates in different parts of the Western world (see, e.g. Dimmock, 1999; Easterby-Smith & Araujo, 1999). This raises an important concern: Is it wise to assume that all these theories are universal in nature and could be equally applied to all contexts? The question is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, and has been raised under different labels, as discussed below:

False universalism: One set of concerns is related to the underlying assumption that the social theories are universally applicable, which undermines the role and significance of context (Nguyen, Elliott, Terlouw & Pilot, 2009).

Remoteness from the Culture: Another set of concerns is related to the remoteness that such borrowing/adoption creates from the everyday cultural practices (Serpell, 2007).

Educational Neo-colonialism: Some have taken a more critical perspective, emphasizing the power dynamics attached to it. These critical theorists view such adoption as a new form of colonialism in education, explaining that, through globalization, western paradigms tend to shape and influence educational systems and thinking elsewhere in the world (Nguyen et al., 2009).

Unexamined and uncritical adoption of Western approaches: Amongst the existing spectrum of concerns, visibly evident is the criticism of adoption rather than adaptation, borrowing rather than contextually relevant application of Western theories and approaches (e.g.  Winser, 1996). 

Unidirectional Learning: It is quite well-established that the flow of ideas has thus far remained pre-dominantly unidirectional, i.e., from the West to the rest (e.g. Wang, 2006). This has undermined the rich cultural heritage, perspectives, insights and learning that the Eastern part of the world embodies. This makes a strong case for challenging and examining some of these assumptions, and making efforts to explore alternate views and make space for them.

As a response and reaction to the predominant presence of social theories rooted in the West, there is a growing recognition of and movement towards understanding theories through the wide range of diverse contextual and cultural perspectives available in the East. The significant role of culture is highlighted to an extent that some Asian researchers suggest that effective leadership in one culture may be counterproductive in another (Tjosvold, Wong & Hui, 2007). The shift of emphasis is evident in various other voices raised on the issue as well (e.g. Tan, McInerney, Liem & Tan, 2008). However, the voices need to be synchronized, strengthened and amplified.

It is in this connection that the conference is strategically an important initiative, as it aims at contributing to the knowledge on leadership and learning in Asia. Leadership and learning have been taken as examples, as the juxtaposition of these two magical words has given rise to a range of intriguing combinations such as ‘leadership in learning', ‘leadership of learning' or ‘learning for leadership'. The two notions, we believe, are interrelated and interconnected, which is evident in the increasingly shifting emphasis towards studying the correlation between leadership and learning outcomes (see, e.g. Day & Leithwood, 2007; Day et al., 2009; Leithwood, Seashore, Anderson & Wahlstrom, 2004; Mulford, 2006; Mulford & Silins, 2003; Waters, Marzano & McNulty, 2005; and a special issue of School Leadership & Management: ‘The impact of school leadership on student outcomes', Leithwood & Day, 2008). However, both leadership and learning are relatively ‘soft' and abstract areas, which provide a lot of space for generalizations, such as being treated as global, which needs to be debated. This was our motivation behind selecting these two, in conjunction, or separately, as core themes for our deliberations. Moreover, leadership and learning are important areas when it comes to people's beliefs; political, symbolic and business leaders have a major impact on our lives, as well as the school and university leaders, and – not the least – those who lead the learning that takes place in those organizations: the teachers. Learning and leadership, thus, seem to be two very broad areas with a great importance for issues such as globalization and whether ideas and theories are universally applicable, whether they have to be adapted to the local contexts, or whether they are context-dependent and thus have to be locally designed and developed.

Thus, the questions that the conference intends to address are:

o Are the west-inspired theories on leadership and learning relevant for Asia in general and different contexts in Asia in particular?

o Is there a need to develop theories specific for Asia in general and different contexts in Asia in particular?

o Are there existing theories on leadership and learning with an Asian origin, which have not received much attention or have not been acknowledged so far?

Asia presents itself as a landscape of diverse geographical, cultural, religious (e.g. Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, etcetera), social, socio-economical and socio-political heritage. Most of the civilizations are ancient, and have long-standing traditions of learning and knowledge. The contexts are unique in their multi-dimensionality and so are they in terms of the breadth and nature of challenges faced by the region. If we make a comparison between the Eastern and Western contexts, their values, traditions and the very worldview of the two contexts –they are different and, often quite opposite. For example, as Professor Nisbett (cited in Dhanarajan, 1998) puts it in his thesis, we see a very strong sense of individual liberty, freedom, and free will prevailing in the different contexts in West. On the other hand, in the East (at least in many Eastern contexts), in place of the idea of each person's being in charge of his or her own life and having freedom to act accordingly, harmony, friendship and family are valued more. In contrast to the western debate to discover the truth, preserving a harmonious interdependent social life is prioritized in many contexts in the Eastern part of the world. Such socio-cultural factors have their impact on the leadership and learning styles, behavior, performance and outcomes that cannot be simply ignored by taking a simplistic universal or general Western approach.

Thus, there is a need to examine/challenge generalizations related to learning and leadership across cultures and geographical boundaries, between East and West, but of course also between Eastern contexts. That is where the conference makes a significant contribution.

[ References ]

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