Challenges of Implementing Contract Policies for University Academics in Malawi: A Case of Mzuzu University
Utilising critical theory, we explored the causes of the conflict that arose between academic staff on fixed-term renewable contracts and university administrators at Mzuzu University in Malawi in order to draw lessons. We collected data using semi-structured, in-depth interviews and document analysis. Ten university employees were purposively selected for interviews. The results showed that the causes of the conflict were, in the view of the respondents a mixture of: 1) a mutually antagonistic relationship between academics and university administrators; 2) less-than-effective administration of contracts by the university leadership; 3) dispute with respect to the university council's views over the age of staff on contract; and 4) the university leadership's negative response to a group of academics who criticised the administration. We argue that these results suggest leadership skills were less-than-satisfactory on the part of university senior management. We offer suggestions that could improve such leadership skills.