Sustaining quality improvement in UK higher education through effective management of best practices

PhD Thesis

Osseo-Asare, Augustus Ernest, Jr 2004. Sustaining quality improvement in UK higher education through effective management of best practices. PhD Thesis
AuthorsOsseo-Asare, Augustus Ernest, Jr
TypePhD Thesis

This Doctoral Thesis raised very important and yet controversial issues relating to the strategic role of `Quality' in the future development of publicly funded higher education institutions (HEIs). The philosophical and empirical underpinnings of these issues relate to the efficiency and effectiveness of alternative approaches for improving Academic Quality. The Thesis provides an alternative holistic and integrated Conceptual Model, which incorporates a composite definition of `Academic Quality'. It depicts Excellent HEIs as those with the ability to meet internal and external demands for quality improvement, by achieving a sustainable balance between the forces for autonomy and accountability to stakeholders. It reveals variability in respondents' ontological and epistemological assumptions, which reflects on the balance between theory and practice. This theory practice linkage underpins this researcher's mindset of critical realism, pragmatism or coherentism as espoused by Tashakkori and Teddlie (1998), Professors Evers and Lakomski (2001). The adoption of a mixed perspective on validity, reliability and generalizability in this thesis complements the positivist deductive approach adopted by Professor Gopal Kanji and Doctor Abdul Tambi in their study of TQM in HEIs (Kanji and Tambi, 2002). Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of 42 Questionnaires, over 30 Interview Transcripts, and Documentary Evidence of Practice, led to the identification and hierarchical categorization of Critical Success Factors (CSFs). The analysis made use of a system of codes, percentage scaled response scores, and simple test statistics. The Osseo-Asare Scoring Mechanism coupled with the notion of Best Practice Gaps (BPGs) were used in the categorization of quality management practices into `Weak', `Good', `Best, and `Excellent' under each CSF. A general Theory of academic quality management was created by a forensic examination of the nature of the probabilistic associations between CSFs and Best Quality Management Practices, resulting in the synthesis of academic quality management principles and concepts from which fundamental philosophical and empirical assumptions were derived. The principles, concepts, and assumptions represent a holistic and integrated approach to quality in terms of comprising of elements from a wide range of alternative theories of educational management and leadership. This Thesis' major contributions to knowledge, include the introduction of: The notion of Best Practice Gaps (BPGs); The Osseo-Asare Scoring Mechanism; The composite definition of Academic Quality; The multi-dimensional definition of Managerial Leadership for academic quality; The generic Theory and Model for academic quality management; and several specific frameworks and models for effective management of academic quality are also some of the by-products from the Thesis. Eight sets of practical recommendations for sustaining academic quality have been outlined; and the major Areas for Further Research at a post-doctoral level include: " Piloting the Model at the University of Derby and at Penn State University, as part of a Comparative Study on the Model's acceptability and applicability. Piloting the Model in UK HEIs, which are adopting the EFQM Excellence Model, in order to assess the Model's compatibility with the EFQM framework. " Application of Kanji's Methodology to determine Performance Indices for each `autonomy' and `accountability' criterion, and to calculate the Academic Excellence Index for UK HEIs in this Thesis.

KeywordsQuality ; Higher Education ; Academic quality
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)hdl:10545/211773
File Access Level
File Access Level
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Feb 2012, 15:30
Publication dates2004
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