Determinants of Managerial Innovation in the State University Administration in Sri Lanka
Universal access to education is one of the key development goals to be achieved by 2015 under the Millennium Declaration declared in 2000. At a conference on universities and the Millennium Development Goals held in April 2010, vice-chancellors across the Commonwealth declared that future national and global development goals should recognize the role of higher education, and universities in both developed and developing countries should draft clear strategies and share expertise more effectively to support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Thus, universities are expected to play a crucial role in shaping and developing human resources required for the development process in a country. The immediate output of these institutions would be employable and quality graduates who should possess the required knowledge and skills with positive attitudes.
The importance of investing on education has been identified by the government of Sri Lanka since independence in 1948. The government has been providing educational facilities to all students from grade one to the university level since the last six decades. The total expenditure incurred for the education has been provided from the General Treasury of Sri Lanka. In this context, the education is imparted free of charge for the nation’s students. This situation has long been contributed for enhancing the quality of the human resources of Sri Lanka. The government allocates 2.08 % of the GDP (gross national product) (Central Bank of Sri Lanka:2009) to maintain the entire education system (the school and the university education). However, lack of financial resources is a major constraint being faced by the state universities in Sri Lanka. This situation is badly affecting on the overall performance of the student and the universities. Despite the financial and other constraints, authorities of the state universities could not reduce its expected service. Under this situation, university authorities face several difficulties in implementing educational programs and in achieving their organizational targets. In this study, it is argued that despite these constraints, the university administration has to find alternatives to achieve its intended objectives. In this line, this study argues that if the university authorities perform in innovative ways in managing their educational programs, that would lead to improve the quality and the relevance of their output, leading to more effective and efficient administration.
In this context, this study attempts to answer several research questions: (1) What is the level of innovation in the university administration in Sri Lanka? (11) What are the factors affecting on innovation in the state university administration? and (111) What can be done to improve innovation in the state university administration in Sri Lanka?
Quantitative data have been utilized to address the research questions posed in this study. For this purpose, a random sample consisting of 166 (coordinators, heads, and deans) of the public universities in Sri Lanka was selected. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data.
The findings confirmed that innovative activities occur in the state universities in Sri Lanka. Nearly 60 % of the sample agrees that they introduce, accept, and implement innovative activities in their organizations. The study identified that the administrators’ motivation to achieve is the significant determinant of the managerial innovation in the university administration. This factor alone explains nearly 20 % of the variance of managerial innovations in the university administration. The other determinants are supportive environment, support of the external environment, skillful human resources, and the administrators’ age. These factors altogether explain nearly 37 % of variance of the dependent variable. Improving efficiency, quality, and effectiveness of the educational programs are the direct benefits of innovation. Based on the findings of the study, policy measures are proposed to improve innovation in the state university administration in Sri Lanka.
KeywordsPublic Sector Managerial Innovation Millennium Development Goal Significant Positive Relationship Innovative Activity
This research was undertaken under the research grant provided by the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka for the year 2008/2009.
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