02 SES 04 B, VET: The Challenge of Diverse Communities
Creating public value in dynamic regional economies: model and research questions
Socio-economic changes form a major challenge for technical and vocational colleges. They find themselves in a paradigm shift. In the light of developments in economy and society the national government asks the educational institutes to not only provide initial education – their usual working area - but also support lifelong learning and contribute to regional innovation (cf. Nieuwenhuis, Hoeve & Verhaar, 2003; Nieuwenhuis & Brown, 2009). In terms of Moore (1995) these educational institutes in dialogue create a new public value. This shift from an old towards a new paradigm, from the current to a new public value, leads to external and internal tensions for the colleges.
This study focuses on the role of school managers in this process. Questions for the management of technical and vocational colleges are: what will be the new public demands for our institute and how do we reach this ambition?
Central in this research project were the theoretical frameworks of Moore (1995) and Rosenfeld (1998). Moore developed a model starting with the creation of public value in societal systems (see also Alford & O’Flynn, 2009): what is the role of public managers in reaching societal goals? According to Moore ‘qualification‘ and ‘participation’ can be described as the expected public value of technical colleges. Recently two new public values were added: in the first place, ‘maintenance of expertise’: lifelong learning for workers or job seekers. Secondly, ‘innovation of professions and economical activities’. A key concept in Moore’s model is the license to operate. The government assigns a mandate to the board of the public institute, establishing governing rules and relations between managers and policy makers. The third concept is tools for effectiveness: what tools do managers use to enhance effective and efficient work procedures within their organisation, i.c. the college?
These three elements: public value, license to operate and tools for effectiveness, are connected to each other by different processes: steering, organizational processes and evaluation.
Given the new role of the educational institute in the region, Rosenfeld describes a set of criteria for the institute in order to achieve this. Among others: a mission with explicit attention for regional, economic development; an explicit focus on regional activities; an active strategy on developing networks; organizational flexibility and adaptability.
In this paper we will discuss the following research questions:
- Why and in what way is the public value of technical and vocational colleges changing?
- What does this mean for the position of technical and vocational colleges and what should managers take into consideration in decision making?
- What consequences does a new position have for networks, portfolios and internal capacity of the colleges?
Alford, J. & J. O’Flynn (2009). Making sense of public value: concepts, critiques and emergent meanings. In: International Journal of Public Administration, 32: 3-4, p. 171-191. DOI: 10.1080/01900690902732731 Moore, M. (1995). Creating Public Value - Strategic Management in Government. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Nieuwenhuis, L.F.M. (2002) Learning organisations for VET. In: Wim J. Nijhof, Anja Heikkinen & Loek F.M. Nieuwenhuis (eds.) Shaping flexibility in Vocational Education and Training. Institutional, curriculum and professional conditions for flexible VET systems. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic press. Nieuwenhuis, L., A. Hoeve & C. Verhaar (2003). Networking between economy and education; regional knowledge transfer in Dutch agriculture. In: R. Rutten, F. Boekema & E. Kuijpers (eds). Economic geography of higher education. London/New York: Routledge Nieuwenhuis, L.F.M. & A. Brown (2009). In search for flexible expertise as a source for firm viability. In: F.K. Oser, U. Renold, E.G. John, E. Winther & S. Weber (eds). VET boost: towards a theory of professional competencies. Essays in honor of Frank Achtenhagen. Rotterdam/Taipei: Sense Publishers. pp. 409-422. Rosenfeld, S. (1998). Stock taking paper for the workshop ‘Technical colleges, technology deployment and regional development’. OECD international conference Modena on ‘building competitive regional economies’. Rosenfeld, S. (2011). The changing form and geography of social capital. In: Cooke, Ph., Asheim, B., Boschma, R., Martin, R., Schwartz, D. & Tödtling, F. (eds.). Handbook of regional innovation and growth. Cheltenham UK/Northhampton MA: Edward Elgar.
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