Managerial Innovation in the Public Sector: An Exploratory Study on the State University Administration in Sri Lanka


  • R. L. S. Fernando



Universities are expected to provide employable and quality graduates. The government of Sri Lanka provides education facilities to the nations and the total expenditure incurred from the General Treasury. However, a lack of financial resources is one of main constraints being faced by the State universities. These situations negatively affect the performance of the students. Even though, the financial and other constraints remain, universities would not reduce the expected service delivery. Thus, this paper argues that universities could perform in innovative ways in managing their educational programmes that would lead to improve the quality and the relevance of the output of the universities leading to more effective and efficient administration. Thus, this study examines the utility of innovation theory in university administration in Sri Lanka. The study attempts to answer two main research questions: Is innovation possible in the university Administration? And what are the main factors affecting on innovation in the university administration? Qualitative research approach with a purposive sample of 20 administrators from four universities from the Western Province was selected by using reputed snowballing technique. Descriptive analysis was undertaken. The study confirmed that innovation is possible and already happening within the university administration. Innovation in university administration means introducing and implementing systems of management by using new ideas to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of the degree programs. The study presents several innovative practices initiated by the university administration which have created potential benefits to the degree programs. The administrators’ motivation to achieve is the significant determinant of the managerial innovation and supportive environment which is mainly the supports of the academic staff and the external environment are other significant determinants of managerial innovation in the administration of the selected universities in Sri Lanka.

Managerial Innovation, Public Sector, University Administration