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Diversity, value and technology: exposing value pluralism in institutional strategy

Johnson, Mark; Smyth, Keith


Mark Johnson

Keith Smyth


Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to explore ways in which value pluralism in institutional learning-technology strategy can be exposed and managed with the use of learning activities involving stakeholder groups across and between educational institutions.

Design/methodology/approach – The case-study of a series of national workshops on technology strategy in the UK is situated against a broader model of “intervention points” in strategy development in institutions. The model is used to explain the rationale behind the workshops, and to situate their efficacy against the broader objectives of strategy development.

Findings – The workshops revealed significant areas of dissonance between the expressed values and priorities of different stakeholder groups within universities: particularly between the expressed wishes of learners, those of teachers and those of learning technologists. Revealing these value conflicts can be attributed to the particular ways in which the communications were managed using learning activities in the workshops.

Practical implications – The managed coordination of learning activities within and between stakeholder groups in universities can be effective in exposing the value pluralism that lies behind different approaches to technology. It is argued that, with more explicit identification of the tension between different stakeholder values, the likelihood of more realistic strategy development is increased.

Originality/value – The practical example of the case study has been used to articulate a deeper theoretical framework drawn from sociology. This framework has potential for use in situating a further range of strategic interventions in learning technology in the university, which extend beyond the scope of the strategy workshops.


Johnson, M., & Smyth, K. (2011). Diversity, value and technology: exposing value pluralism in institutional strategy. Campus-wide information systems : CWIS, 28, 211-220.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 30, 2011
Deposit Date May 4, 2012
Electronic ISSN 1065-0741
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Pages 211-220
Keywords Communication; Institutional transformation; structure and agency; technology led strategy; United Kingdom; value pluralism;
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