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Sustainable leadership: honeybee practices at Thailand's oldest university

Sooksan Kantabutra (College of Management, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand)
Molraudee Saratun (College of Management, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 10 May 2013




The aim of this paper is to adopt Avery and Bergsteiner's 23 sustainable leadership practices derived from sustainable organizations as a framework to examine the leadership practices of Thailand's oldest university.


Avery and Bergsteiner's principles were grouped into six categories for analysis: long‐term perspective, staff development, organizational culture, innovation, social responsibility, and ethical behavior, providing the framework for analysis of the university. Adopting a multi‐data collection approach, research teams supplemented case study data with participant observations, and reference to documentation and information supplied by, or published about the university. Semi‐structured interviews were held with multiple stakeholders.


Six core sets of practices consistent with 21 sustainable leadership practices are identified: a focus on a long‐term perspective, staff development, a strong organizational culture, innovation, social and environmental responsibility and ethical behavior.

Practical implications

Since sustainable leadership principles link to enhanced brand and reputation, customer and staff satisfaction, and financial performance, the Sustainable Leadership Grid provides educational leaders with a useful checklist for this purpose.


This paper contains the first examination of sustainable leadership in the higher education sector. It shows that even a public service organization can adopt the long‐term, socially responsible principles of sustainable leadership.



Kantabutra, S. and Saratun, M. (2013), "Sustainable leadership: honeybee practices at Thailand's oldest university", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 356-376.



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