Soaib Asimiran, Sufean Hussin , Norhasni Zainal Abiddin, Abdullah Mat Rashid


University governance is the process of policy making at the highest level within the institutional framework so that the university as an organization could be organized and managed according to its purpose of establishment. There are several theories that can describe governance practice. Structural theory, political theory, and open systems theory have been referred to as the theories that are able to provide partial explanation for governance practice. In practice, university governance has changed over the last quarter of a century and universities are increasingly encountered with complex issues that demand better solutions. This study has been conducted on seven members of the universities’ Board of Directors from the Malaysian public universities to gain an insight into their understanding on the importance of governance as well as to find out the key elements affecting governance activities according to their experiences. Utilizing the qualitative approach, despite documents analysis, interviews with seven members of the University Board of Directors from two public universities were conducted and each interviewee was asked a semi structured open ended questions following an interview protocol. The findings suggest that there is no single theory that could best described the tenability of the governance process in Malaysia, but rather there are combinations of the structural, political and open system theories to describe the characteristics of the Malaysian public universities and how governance works in Malaysia. Several concerns have also been pointed out that have affected the governance practice. These include the aspects of university autonomy, leadership, power of the Board of Directors, representation in the Board, and laws on university governance. There should be an enabling and supportive framework so that the Board of Directors can contribute more effectively in the governance practice. 


Key words: board of director, governance, public university, leadership

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