Shifting Higher Education Management: Examining the Organisational Changes among Various UK University Types

By Seng Kiat Kok, Alex Douglas and Bob McClelland.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

New external forces have created change in management and organisational structures within Higher Education in the UK. The effects of increased commercial activities and focus together with movement away from collegial administrative structures has meant a changing educational ethos towards more corporate and profit centred management goals. The UK system, which contains both the Traditional Universities and New Universities, finds additional complexity as ‘New’ Universities were inherently more managerialist in their management in comparison to the collegial and autonomous freedoms of the ‘Traditional’ Universities. This paper discusses the different organisational structures and existing management styles of the University types alongside the various external forces that have acted as catalysts to these changes. Utilising data collected from a UK wide survey of staff members in UK Universities, findings suggest a movement towards a more managed and bureaucratic focus in both new and traditional universities with a new emphasis on financial management. Traditional universities, while still research and learning centred see a slight shift away from collegial autonomy towards a strengthening of management control and focus. Ultimately this paper hopes to provide an up-to-date insight into the different organisational structures and managements that exist in the UK’s diverse Higher Education sector.

Keywords: UK Higher Education, New and Traditional University, Organisational Change, Managerialism, Commercialisation

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp.227-240. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.262MB).

Dr. Seng Kiat Kok

PhD Student and Sessional Lecturer, Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Seng Kiat, Kok is a PhD student and sessional lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). He has an Bachelors in Business Studies from the University of Wales, Institute Cardiff and Masters Degree in Business Studies from LJMU, where he is currently undertaking his doctoral research on changing archetypes and management structures of UK Universities. He is also a sessional lecturer teaching research methods to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University. His research interests include examining and evaluating the effects of managerialism and commercialization on higher education management, commoditization of higher education internationally and in the UK, and motivational aspects of human resource management.

Dr. Alex Douglas

Reader in Service Quality Management, Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Alex Douglas is a Reader in Service Quality Management in Liverpool Business School within the Faculty of Business and Law at Liverpool John Moores University where he has been lecturing since 2000 He is a Fellow of the Chartered Quality Institute, a Senior Member of the American Society for Quality and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has attended conferences presenting research papers round the world, including the, Australia, China, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, USA and the UK. He has had over 50 articles and research papers published in conference proceedings and a wide range of journals including: Total Quality Management, Managing Service Quality, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Journal of Workplace Learning, Managerial Auditing Journal and TQM Magazine. He is editor of The TQM Journal and is a paper reviewer for Emerald and has reviewed papers for a wide range of journals including: Management Decision, Managing Service Quality, International Small Business Journal and International Journal of Operations and Production Management.

Dr. Bob McClelland

Reader in Educational Technology, Faculty of Business and Law, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Bob McClelland has worked in the UK Higher Education sector for 34 years. He is currently a Reader in Educational Technology, a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Initially a Chemist he has lectured in Analytical Science at undergraduate and postgraduate level. For almost nineteen years he has lectured in Business Statistics, Decision Making, Management and Research Methods to undergraduates, postgraduates, Doctoral students and professional courses in Business. He is Programme Manager of the Masters in Enterprise and Masters in Business Improvement, a Faculty Enterprise Champion and Head of the Centre for Market Research Technologies at Liverpool John Moores University. Bob’s research is based upon corporate learning, utilizing new and emerging technologies and evaluation of projects. He has written several textbooks and has published widely on Learning and Teaching technology issues in Business Education. He undertakes a range of consultancy activities for enterprises, local and national government (more recently in Health), and supervises more than twenty doctoral students in the UK and overseas. He is also a visiting Professor to an MBA/Doctoral programme in Ramkhamhaeng University, Thailand.

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