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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Welcome to a new volume of IJEM into 2007 the 21st year since its inception. There is a new managing editor to work with for me now following Rachel Murawa’s departure to pastures new, in the form of Joe Bennett who I look forward to working with in the future.
The first paper is by Yau Tsai from Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Sue Beverton of Durham University who have prepared a joint submission on “Top-Down Management: An Effective Tool in Higher Education?”. The authors write that several studies have concluded that top-down management through its exercise of direct power is still a preferable means of reducing the chaos resulting from teachers caught up in destabilising and confusing change processes. Yet whilst power is indeed considered a strong force in negotiation and restructuring the culture of universities, the writers argue that culture in which different members of the faculty and staff have similar beliefs or values about their work could be the key factor in making top-down management working more efficiently and effectively. In the current globalisation context the writers conclude that the success of top-down management is predicated upon a willingness or readiness of the faculty to allow it to exist. With a compliant culture the traditional model of top-down management not only fits perfectly the changing environment of the global society, but it can also make various changes or reforms in higher education smoother and more stable.
The next paper is by Professor Goran Svensson and Associate Professor Greg Wood of the Oslo school of management and Bowater school of management and marketing at Deakin University respectively. “Are university students really customers?” is the theme. The authors basically dismiss the concept of students as customers and feel that the language of marketing to describe the university student relationship is inappropriate. They find that the use of marketing metaphors is indiscriminate and they question their appropriateness in this article and claim that the notion of students as customers has caused a misinterpretation in the relationship between universities and students. Students should be seen as citizens of the university community rather than customers of the university.
Graeme Drummond is senior lecturer at Napier University, Edinburgh and contributes on programme feedback in particular the one minute paper concept. Advocates of the one minute paper hail the concept as an innovative learning tool delivering benefits to students, staff and teaching institutions alike with minimal resource implications. The paper sets out to examine if the claimed benefits can be realised through the use of a literature review followed by a two year student survey. The study found that the claimed benefits can be realised with little resources including the possibility of improved student retention, but that the concept needs selling by staff. The study provides a fresh perspective on OMP with a focus on practical classroom management. The concept is extended into an area of student retention with OMP providing a functional method to identify/help students who may struggle in a specific subject.
A project on school principal preparation by Angela Thody as part of a project led by Petros Pashiardis with Zoi Papanaoum and Olaf Johansson. They represent a wide section of Europe – the University of Lincoln, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,University of Umea and the University of Cyprus. The article therefore centres on Cypriot, English, Greek and Swedish selection of the training of principals, as part of a 2001-2002 European Union funded study which created a distance learning CD ROM for principals. The team analysed and compared national education systems and principals’ selection and training using documents, focus groups, principals’ interviews and an international seminar. The most centralised systems of Greece and Cyprus had less principal preparation, and more government involvement in principal selection, than the less centralised Sweden and England. The extent of training was perceived to matter less in successful principalship than selecting the right people although even a good leader can be improved through training and principals were concerned about their lack of formal training.
From the Institute for International Management and Technology, India, Professor Umashankar and Assistant Professor Dutta give an Indian perspective on balanced scorecards in managing higher education institutions. The paper looks at the BSC concept and discussed in what way it should be applied to higher education programmes/ institutions in the Indian context, with what objectives and possible impacts. The paper is based upon extant literature on BSC in higher education as reported by researchers. A useful model is proposed that can be adapted with appropriate modifications to the management of tertiary institutions of education in India, whether it be a university, affiliate college, autonomous institution or private educational institution. The authors state that in the absence of any evidence of the application of BSC in the higher education domain in India the paper is seen as a starting point for debate and possible strategies to implement BSC methodology in this area.
Mike Hart and David Rush from The University of Winchester write on e-learning and the development of the “voice” in business studies education. Higher education has been experiencing rapid expansion in the UK enrolling 43 per cent of the 18+ age cohort. From September 2006 universities can charge up to £3000 sterling in tuition fees, a 255 per cent increase on the previous year. Such fee increases will lead to an increasingly instrumental orientation in the experience of higher education with students defining their role as “consumers” with expectations of customer care and an increasingly critical attitude towards the quality of tuition provided. The semantic distinctions between the terms “customer” and “consumer” is discussed. Compare with the earlier Svensson and Wood paper.
One of the classic formulations in which consumers may react to the provision of services is provided by Hirschman’s 1970 formulation of responses to the provision of services. Put simply consumers may vote with their feet by choosing an alternative supplier to their services that fits their need. Another response is to articulate concerns vociferously in order to obtain redress or amelioration. These traditional marketing concepts are then applied to higher education.
The authors are engaged together with five partner institutions in an examination of “Quality in business education” with a specific brief to examine student involvement in the quality process. Deriving from this work the authors examine the role e-learning in facilitating and encouraging student engagement in course delivery and evaluation. The paper suggests an explanation as to why the student voice does not achieve more prominence given the possibilities available in recent advances in ICT and details some of the experience of course delivery and evaluation in their own institution.