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Diversity, value and technology: exposing value pluralism in institutional strategy

Mark Johnson (Institute for Educational Cybernetics, University of Bolton, Bolton, UK)
Keith Smyth (Office of the Vice Principal (Academic), Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK)

Campus-Wide Information Systems

ISSN: 1065-0741

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




The purpose of the paper is to explore ways in which value pluralism in institutional learning‐technology strategy can be exposed and managed with the use of learning activities involving stakeholder groups across and between educational institutions.


The case‐study of a series of national workshops on technology strategy in the UK is situated against a broader model of “intervention points” in strategy development in institutions. The model is used to explain the rationale behind the workshops, and to situate their efficacy against the broader objectives of strategy development.


The workshops revealed significant areas of dissonance between the expressed values and priorities of different stakeholder groups within universities: particularly between the expressed wishes of learners, those of teachers and those of learning technologists. Revealing these value conflicts can be attributed to the particular ways in which the communications were managed using learning activities in the workshops.

Practical implications

The managed coordination of learning activities within and between stakeholder groups in universities can be effective in exposing the value pluralism that lies behind different approaches to technology. It is argued that, with more explicit identification of the tension between different stakeholder values, the likelihood of more realistic strategy development is increased.


The practical example of the case study has been used to articulate a deeper theoretical framework drawn from sociology. This framework has potential for use in situating a further range of strategic interventions in learning technology in the university, which extend beyond the scope of the strategy workshops.



Johnson, M. and Smyth, K. (2011), "Diversity, value and technology: exposing value pluralism in institutional strategy", Campus-Wide Information Systems, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 211-220.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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