The role of leadership in effective implementation of quality assurance mechanisms in higher education: An exploratory case study from Pakistan

Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Purpose: This study aims to explore whether and how leaders’ attributes, understanding of and attitude towards quality assurance (QA) shape their practices towards effective implementation of QA in universities. Design/methodology/approach: Using qualitative case study, the data were collected from nine institutional leaders purposively selected from two universities. The data, collected through semi-structured interviews, were analysed using thematic analysis technique.
Findings: The findings revealed that personal attributes of leaders such as understanding of QA, attitude towards QA and practices shape leadership style either as transformational or compliance leader. The transformational leader implements QA procedures with the intention of bringing improvement in teaching learning and research quality. In contrast, the compliance leaders are primarily concerned with implementation of QA procedures merely to fulfil the requirements of an external regulatory body.
Research limitations/implications: This study acknowledges that certain other factors (e.g. demographics, institutional policies or practices) might have an influence on leadership practices. Using the framework of this study, further quantitative and/or mixed methods research can expand by bringing more factors that can shape leadership practices.
Originality/value: The role of leadership is significant to the success of any university. A plethora of studies have reported various aspects of successful leadership in higher education (HE). However, in the changing nature of HE due to the emergence of formal QA, there is paucity of research that focusses on the role of leader’s attributes in the effective implementation of QA procedures.


Pages, Volume and Issue # are ahead of print.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Quality Assurance in Education