Higher Education Institutions quality initiatives in New Zealand and Australia: Conversations across academic cultures

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Quality Conversations Vol. 25

July, 2002, 794 pages
Published by
Tony Herrington
ISBN
0 908557 54 X
Abstract 

The introduction of quality policies and processes in response to the increased pressure to assure accountability and quality has become both commonplace and contested in higher education. Such initiatives have also resulted in a range of reactions from staff, particularly academics. This study explores the perception of quality in the New Zealand and Australian academy from an evolutionary and cultural perspective. It also assesses the contributions, both positive and negative, of academic cultural dissonance in institutional quality efforts. The method used in this small-scale study is exploratory; rich text data is collected in the form of verbal and electronic surveys of academic staff and managers from six New Zealand and six Australian Universities. In the data gathered, there is little evidence that institutions in either country have progressed past the second of the three stages of quality evolution. The strongest emergent theme in the assessment of quality initiatives reflects the clash between a collegial and managerial culture, consistent with the literature. Difficulties in attaining higher education quality are attributed to cultural factors by respondents at all levels of the organisation.

Key words: quality culture, organisational learning, managerialism

Higher Education Institutions quality initiatives in New Zealand and Australia: Conversations across academic cultures

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Avdjieva, M. & Wilson, M.