Future strategy for higher education with specific reference to Scottish universities.
378 Higher education
LB2300 Higher Education
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AbstractThe developed economies are now considered to be entering the growth phase ofknowledge-based economic activity. The universities are increasingly seen as acritical vehicle for knowledge creation and knowledge transfer in order to produceeducated citizens that will facilitate economic growth. The secondary data on thepressures facing universities suggest that the universities need to be more competitive,flexible and efficient. Empirical data was collected from a series of studentexpectations and satisfactions surveys at one of the Scottish universities. Analysis ofthese suggests that generally students seem to demand for a wider option of deliveryfrom the university. The students broadly do not seem to be content withmassification of higher education that includes distance learning delivery. This raisesa potential conflict with regard to culture in that the culture that best facilitates thestudents' acceptance of massification of higher education will include distancelearning delivery. Therefore, this research has been conducted to explore anddetermine the current, future and desired culture of three Scottish universities. Thisresearch also determined how culture in these three Scottish universities may bestructured to best meet the future requirements of knowledge-based economies. TheOrganisational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) developed by Cameron andQuinn was used to measure the current, future and desired culture in Scottishuniversities. From the OCAI, it would appear that the staff in these three universitiesconsider the current culture to be a Hierarchy culture and that a Market culture will beemphasised in future in universities. The Delphi study also indicates that if a marketdriven culture can be developed then universities can exploit new knowledge in theeconomy in which they reside and this will enhance their internationalcompetitiveness. Thus, in the future, a Market culture will develop in universities thatplace emphasis on customer requirements and winning in the market place. However,the focus on a Market culture will be achieved by emphasising broadly on the largenumbers of standardised procedures, rules and policies governing what people do, andwhich are strongly associated with "resistance to change", which is often confusedwith critical questioning of strategy. However, the desired culture is the collegiateculture (Clan culture) with a focus on ongoing commitment to excellence, increasedflexibility, staff empowerment and cross-functional teamwork. This raises a potentialconflict in higher education environments. The Delphi study indicates that other stakeholders in higher education want universities to stimulate greater success inknowledge creation and knowledge transfer activities. The universities are expected toincrease their economic contribution through collaboration. Scottish higher educationshould build upon its strength by addressing it weaknesses in order to realise itsopportunities and avoid threats. Effective leadership and management are essential inuniversities. This intensifies the need for a desired culture that can best facilitate thedevelopment of universities in the future. Therefore, to address the two conflicts in thehigher education environment and to best facilitate the development of universities inthe future, it is proposed that there is a need for universities to devise flexiblestrategies to engage stakeholders to identify issues, propose solutions, and becomepartners in implementing the changes needed. The universities should cultivate a Clanculture to better facilitate knowledge creation and knowledge transfer activities, andconsequently become more customer focused with regard to the likely futureexpectations from students in terms of programme provision, teaching methods andthe whole experience as a student. To facilitate this, it is proposed that tools such asEuropean Foundation Quality Management (EFQM) model could be used to focusactivities.