22 SES 01 C, Institutional Assessment & Evaluations
As well as technological and scientific advancement, mass education, globalization, privatization, corporatization and managerialism have deeply affected higher education systems during the 21st century; these major factors has caused new challenges for universities such as creating alternative teaching and learning environments, accrediting their degree programmes with multinational structures, joining international research networks, initiating new programmes to attract diverse student bodies, marketing their brands and competing to obtain external resources (Welch, 2005). Modern universities, to overcome all these challenges, need to make serious changes within their structures, policies and procedures. Moreover, some internal forces for change in universities are: the nature of academic work, stakeholders’ demands, managerial personnel changes, policy-making processes, existing organizational structures, power distribution, political relations, organizational cultures and individuals’ characteristics (Chapman & Austin, 2002; Erkan, 2011; Stefani, 2008). University managements can cope with these different complex change factors by creating flexible structure in their organizations (Boonstra, 2004).
Flexibility for organizations indicates the adaptation of organizations to new opportunities or threats in their environments (Maldonado, 2003; Ozden, 2005). Organizational Flexibility is defined as the ability of organizations to give proper responses at the right times to the changes in their environments by altering their policies and strategies, managerial operations and work procedures, and organizational structures (Adonisi & van Wyk, 2012; Gurkanlar, 2010). Ceylan (2001, p. 38-47), based on studies made by Brahman, Lee, Lund & Gjerdingand Reed & Blunsden, identified seven dimensions for organizational flexibility: Communication Flexibility, Labour Flexibility, Organizational Structure Flexibility, Organizational Clarity and Appreciation, Strategy Flexibility, Precept Flexibility and Managerial Flexibility.
This theoretical frame can be used as parameters to evaluate organizational flexibility in universities. However, some important points related to current situations of organizational flexibility in universities might be missed during the self-evaluations of their institutions. On the other hand, the institutional evaluations performed by external bodies can provide more objective results for universities to decide which types of initiatives they need to generate more flexible organizational structures (Calik & Bumin-Suzen, 2013). Around Europe, in terms of quality assurance and transparency in higher education as well as integration of universities from different countries, one of the major external evaluation mechanisms for universities is European University Association (EUA).
EUA offers three evaluation options for universities, regions and nations, and universities can demand individual evaluation for their organizations within Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP). During IEP, the authorised committee (usually composed of four experienced academics or experts) evaluates universities generally in aspect of institutional norms and values, governance and operations, quality assessment activities, and strategic management and change capacity (www.eua.be, 27.01.2015). This committee, after their two site visits, presents their final reports containing recommendations to manage institutional change and enhance quality in universities. In this regard, the purpose of this research is to examine organizational flexibility in universities by using the results in institutional evaluation reports of EUA.
Adonisi, M., & van Wyk, R. (2012). The influence of market orientation, flexibility and job satisfaction on corporate entrepreneurship. International Business & Economics Research Journal, 11(5), 477-486. Ary, D., Cheser-Jacobs, L., Razavieh, A., & Sorensen, C. (2006). Introduction to research in education (7th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education. Boonstra. J. J. (2004). Dynamics of organizational change and learning: An introduction, In. J. J. Boonstra (Ed.) Dynamics of organizational change and learning: Wiley Handbooks in the Psychology of Management in Organizations (pp. 1-42). Chichester: Wiley Publishers. Calik, T., & Bumin-Süzen, Z. (2013). Assessments in institutional evaluation reports prepared by European University Association and academic staff’s agreement degrees to improvement recommendations. Educational Administration: Theory and Practice, 19(3), 355-390. Ceylan, C. (2001). The forming flexibility performance model and the analysis of flexibility for organizations. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). İstanbul Technical University, Turkey. Chapman, D. W., & Austin, A. E. (2002). The changing context of higher education in the developing world, In D. W. Chapman & A. E. Austin (Eds.), Higher education in developing world: Changing contexts and institutional responses (pp. 3-22). Boston College: The Center for Higher Education and the Program in Higher Education. Erkan, S. (2011). Change in higher education and a core value: Academic freedom. Educational Administration: Theory and Practice, 17(3), 349-376. European University Association (EUA). (2014). A twenty-year contribution to institutional change: EUA’s Institutional Evaluation Programme. Brussels: European University Association asbl. Gurkanlar, E. (2010). The effects of flexible working hours on social role and working performance of women employees: A study at Akdeniz University. (Unpublished master thesis). Akdeniz University, Turkey. Maldonado, C. M. (2003). Flexibility and change: Creating an organizational structure to support transformation at the University of California, Santa Cruz (Unpublished master thesis). California State University, Long Beach, USA. Ozden, Y. (2005). Egitimde yeni degerler [New values in education] (6th Ed.). Ankara: PegemA Yayincilik. Stefani, L. (2008). Change management and a model of distributed leadership in the context of academic development. Educational Developments, 9(3), 19-22. Welch, A. (Ed.) (2005). The professoriate: Profile of a profession. Dordrecht: Springer.
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