Authentic academic qualityReconciling organisational culture and external quality assurance
Authentic academic quality:Reconciling organisational culture and external quality assurance.Paper presented OECD IMHE General Conference 17-19 September 2012, Paris Dr Dhaya Naidoo Prof N Themba Mosia
EQA and organisational culture assumptions EQA Improved HE quality OC
Traditional notions of organisational culture• Homogenous, unitary and centred around shared values and could therefore easily be manipulated (usually from the top by management)• An organisational culture that is amenable to change would be more receptive to the introduction of formal internal and external quality-assurance structures, systems and instruments,
Taken-for-granted assumptions of EQA • EQA unproblematic technology accepted without question by higher education institutions (HEI) • Premised upon the laudable aim of improving the quality of those institutions. • Motivated by a public-good rationale to improve the quality of those institutions • Multiple beneficiaries • Peer-driven, objective assessment of the institutions’ quality arrangements
Analysis • Philosophical, conceptual and methodological controversies and contestations surrounding both constructs • A three-dimensional model, Tierney (1988) cultural framework, modified cultures of the academy of Bergquist and Pawlak (2007) and adapted four sociological perspectives of Burrell and Morgan (1979) underpinned analysis
Emerging views of organisational culture • Multiple cultures exists simultaneously • Managerial • Collegial • Political • Transformational • Fluid membership • Driven by issues rather than demographic or occupational categories
Multiple roles of EQA • EQA as an agent of: • Control • Empowerment • Transformation • State • All four roles exist explicitly and tacitly
Organisational culture and external quality assurance Managerial culture TransformativePolitical Culture culture Control Collegial culture Empowerment Transformation State
Conclusions• Organisation cultures ephemeral than concrete, multidimensional than singular, characterised simultaneously by conflict, consensus and indifference and in a constant state of flux• EQA multi-dimensional with several layers of stated and unstated intents despite being championed by a democratising and public-good rhetoric• Fundamental and enduring change in higher education is largely contingent on the elevation of a transformative organisational culture and the transformation agenda of external quality assurance.
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