Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations

Leadership and Policy For Reforms and Change in Higher Education: A Review of the Juakalization Phenomenon of Public Universities in Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Patrick D Pauken (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Chris Willis (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Paul A. Johnson (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Gituro Wainaina (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Susan Peet (Committee Member)


No country can afford mass access and high quality-it will never happen (Altbatch, 2012). Massification has characterized global higher education since the mid-1940s starting in the United States, spreading to Europe and East Asia in the 20th Century, before expanding to Sub-Sahara Africa. Various scholars have linked massification, and the transformation of higher education to the dilution of quality university education, leading to Juakalization. The term Juakalization is a metaphor derived from the word `Jua kali' is used in this study to denote low-quality education standards witnessed in universities, by relating institutions of higher education in Kenya with the country's informal, economic artisan sector known as Jua Kali. The expansion of higher education in Kenya after the year 2010, resulted in confusion, frustration, lack of employee loyalty, and clashes in corporate culture, posing leadership challenges. This mixed methods, sequential, and explanatory study, sought to gain new insights into leadership behavior at seven public universities operating in Kenya before 2010. The research explored the relationship between leaders self-perception and the perception of their followers with regard to leadership effectiveness in managing the performance of universities during the Juakalization phenomenon. The findings indicated that university vice-chancellors frequently utilized effective leadership practices and that their followers were aware of effective leadership behavior. However, all indications point to the dilution of quality higher education. Three conclusions arise from the study findings: first, leaders and followers must produce change; second, the desired change ought to be transformational; and third, the leader follower relationship must produce quality products, because leading is about practice and transformation.