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Future strategy for higher education with specific reference to Scottish universities.

Muthaya, Karthigaesu

Authors

Karthigaesu Muthaya



Abstract

The developed economies are now considered to be entering the growth phase of
knowledge-based economic activity. The universities are increasingly seen as a
critical vehicle for knowledge creation and knowledge transfer in order to produce
educated citizens that will facilitate economic growth. The secondary data on the
pressures facing universities suggest that the universities need to be more competitive,
flexible and efficient. Empirical data was collected from a series of student
expectations and satisfactions surveys at one of the Scottish universities. Analysis of
these suggests that generally students seem to demand for a wider option of delivery
from the university. The students broadly do not seem to be content with
massification of higher education that includes distance learning delivery. This raises
a potential conflict with regard to culture in that the culture that best facilitates the
students' acceptance of massification of higher education will include distance
learning delivery. Therefore, this research has been conducted to explore and
determine the current, future and desired culture of three Scottish universities. This
research also determined how culture in these three Scottish universities may be
structured to best meet the future requirements of knowledge-based economies. The
Organisational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) developed by Cameron and
Quinn was used to measure the current, future and desired culture in Scottish
universities. From the OCAI, it would appear that the staff in these three universities
consider the current culture to be a Hierarchy culture and that a Market culture will be
emphasised in future in universities. The Delphi study also indicates that if a market
driven culture can be developed then universities can exploit new knowledge in the
economy in which they reside and this will enhance their international
competitiveness. Thus, in the future, a Market culture will develop in universities that
place 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 large
numbers of standardised procedures, rules and policies governing what people do, and
which are strongly associated with "resistance to change", which is often confused
with critical questioning of strategy. However, the desired culture is the collegiate
culture (Clan culture) with a focus on ongoing commitment to excellence, increased
flexibility, staff empowerment and cross-functional teamwork. This raises a potential
conflict in higher education environments. The Delphi study indicates that other stakeholders in higher education want universities to stimulate greater success in
knowledge creation and knowledge transfer activities. The universities are expected to
increase their economic contribution through collaboration. Scottish higher education
should build upon its strength by addressing it weaknesses in order to realise its
opportunities and avoid threats. Effective leadership and management are essential in
universities. This intensifies the need for a desired culture that can best facilitate the
development of universities in the future. Therefore, to address the two conflicts in the
higher education environment and to best facilitate the development of universities in
the future, it is proposed that there is a need for universities to devise flexible
strategies to engage stakeholders to identify issues, propose solutions, and become
partners in implementing the changes needed. The universities should cultivate a Clan
culture to better facilitate knowledge creation and knowledge transfer activities, and
consequently become more customer focused with regard to the likely future
expectations from students in terms of programme provision, teaching methods and
the whole experience as a student. To facilitate this, it is proposed that tools such as
European Foundation Quality Management (EFQM) model could be used to focus
activities.

Citation

Muthaya, K. Future strategy for higher education with specific reference to Scottish universities. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/6197

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 7, 2013
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Higher education; student expectations; distance learning; knowledge transfer; institutional strategy;
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/6197

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