Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 25, Issue 6
Welcome to the penultimate issue of 2011, with six papers of international interest from Jordan, Malaysia, the UK, Belgium and Qatar. In the first paper, Samer Khasawneh of the Hashemite University, Jordan, gives us a piece on human capital planning in higher education (HE) in which 120 administrative faculty employees responded to the survey. The results of the study indicated that HE institutions (HEIs) have a strong level of human capital planning (HCP): examples of HCP included identifying sources of relevant employment and workforce data, establishing competency models, training internal talent, updating and accuracy of job descriptions, and establishing organisational learning practices that encourage employees to engage in lifelong learning. There were no significant gender differences, although there were some differences regarding some chairs of departments. A number of theoretical and planning recommendations are suggested.
The study of a business management faculty in Malaysia is a paper by multiple authors fronted by Salina Daud, in which the potential gap between important dimensions of business graduates’ attitudes and their actual performance in post-graduate performance employment is investigated. The business graduates were from a faculty of a university based in peninsular Malaysia. The attributes and performance of those graduates was considered in four broad areas-knowledge, skills, abilities, and personality. The results of the study show that managers attach different weightings to different aspects of the graduates’ performance. Curriculum development should be directed towards attributes that are expected of the graduates and relevant to the needs of the employment market (an argument sometimes heard in other countries but not always accepted – Editor). It should be noted that the study is of graduates of a business school and future research could establish whether there is a consistent pattern across HEIs in different countries where there may be different expectations.
The next paper is also on HEIs, but on the market strategy needed to improve the student-institution match. The author is Yvonne J. Moogan, who is attached to the Kaplan School of Management and John Moores University Liverpool Business School. The aim of the survey undertaken was to analyse the decision-making criteria of new undergraduates enrolling at a UK HEI on day one related to the marketing activities employed throughout the decision-making period in the previous 12 months. It focussed in particular on the effectiveness of the information that lead to the retention of whether to keep this HEI on the preferred list and eventually to enrol. The results show that the students did receive enough information (details of the programme to be studied being most important), but they would have preferred greater use of electronic sources and especially information from current undergraduates. Senior management need to know the impact in terms of timing and content of marketing activities on potential students so that they have a better chance of matching information sources to students’ needs.
On a different subject, Nicky Rogge of Hogeschool Universiteit, Brussels, submits work on “Granting teachers the ‘benefit of the doubt’ in performance evaluations”. Universities are increasingly making use of student evaluations of teaching (SET), but as they stand they are controversial, especially the subjectivity elements involved in the computation of scores and the vague and limited feedback to teachers. In this new approach there is more flexibility in score construction and teacher performance is put into a better perspective, which accounts for different values and interpretations that teachers attach to “good teaching”. Also, if available, stakeholder opinion can be easily incorporated into the evaluation. The swift identification of teachers’ relative strengths and weaknesses is another gain. The method of the benefit of the doubt structure is illustrated using student questionnaire data collected at a university college in Brussels.
The next paper is from the Universiti Sains Malaysia and other establishments. A number of authors, led by Ramachandran, write on organisational culture (OC) within private and public universities in Malaysia. The paper investigates the organisational cultures from the perspective of faculty members in order to provide empirical insights on the differences and thereby create an avenue for new learning. Data were collected from nearly 600 faculty members using the competing values framework (CVF). The factor analysis results revealed an important confirmation of the theoretical presumptions from the literature in respect of the four OC types – i.e. clan, adhocracy, hierarchical and market – that were originally developed for use in the corporate sector. The independent t-test results suggest that faculty members perceived all four OC types as being significantly different between public and private sector HEIs. This study should enable faculty members to better identify and deal with the attainment of organisational goals and vision.
Finally, from Qatar, Abdullah M. Abu-Tineh writes on “Exploring the relationship between organizational learning and career resilience among faculty members at Qatar University”. In 2003, Qatar embarked on an ambitious reform initiative that recognised the need to provide a strong educational system to aid young Qataris to play leading roles in the development of their society. The study is on learning and resilience in the university context. The results of the study confirm the feasibility of connecting two emerging frameworks:
organisational learning; and
The findings indicate that faculty members at Qatar University practice three different levels of learning – i.e. individual learning, departmental learning, and university learning – and the paper outlines the relative impact of them all.