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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2008

Zenia Barnard and Chris Rensleigh

The core purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which web portal technology and online communities could be successfully applied by the alumni offices of higher…

2351

Abstract

Purpose

The core purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which web portal technology and online communities could be successfully applied by the alumni offices of higher education institutions in South Africa (using the University of Johannesburg as a case study) to create information‐sharing with and amongst its alumni affinity groups, in order to build and maintain valuable relationships, networks and partnerships.

Design/methodology/approach

This research project falls under Pasteur's quadrant of use‐inspired research. Using quantitative empirical research, a total number of 10,380 questionnaires was distributed to graduates of the University of Johannesburg at the Autumn graduation ceremonies in April 2006, thereby making it a self‐selecting, purposeful (purposive) and convenient sample.

Findings

Based on the literature study, the results of the empirical research and the case study, the final conclusion made from this research project is that an online community portal can enhance to a large extent the networking of alumni in the South African higher education sector. In addition, the research data collection instrument is transferable to a number of other higher education settings. In particular, the user‐centric information resource questions provide useful insights into alumni information‐seeking behaviour and needs.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the University of Johannesburg Alumni being used as a case study for this research project, the research findings are tailored for implementation by this entity. However, the processes that were followed for this research project in terms of conducting a needs analysis with regard to the information needs of the alumni target audience and the types of questions that were posed could be guiding principles for other South African higher education sector (SAHES) institutions that want to develop such a tool for managing their alumni's information needs. In addition, the framework for the study predicts continuing alliances among academic services, placement services, library services, and fund development on higher education campuses.

Originality/value

The paper should prove useful to other academic institutions since it develops a helpful tool to assist in managing alumni networking behaviour, needs and resources.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

Zenia Barnard and Derek Van der Merwe

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the innovative management strategies at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) during volatile post-merger years, in its quest…

2662

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the innovative management strategies at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) during volatile post-merger years, in its quest for a sustainable future. It illustrates how the institution went from a place of relative uncertainty and volatility to a place of progression and stability by adapting to its environment and challenging circumstances.

Design/methodology/approach

A holistic and inter-disciplinary approach is taken by the authors to demonstrate that organizational innovation and sustainability do not happen in isolation. The paper includes a literature review to contextualize the challenging environment in which the UJ was established and functions. A brief description of the strategic goals of the university is provided as a framework from within which the innovative management activities were launched. Data and information from the UJ’s stakeholder reports were used as measurement tools to determine the progress in reaching strategic targets.

Findings

Innovation in higher education reported on in this paper is a result of many planning sessions, policy and procedure formulations, brainstorming and benchmarking exercises, performance reviews, management interventions and statistical analyses. A set of necessary and sufficient conditions for innovation in sustainable development in higher education include decisive leadership on strategic direction; regular, flexible and inclusive planning; regular culture climate surveys; constant monitoring of progress; and strategic agility that is essential to promote innovation among the entire workforce.

Originality/value

The challenges, context and approaches provided in this paper serve as a frame of reference for other institutions of higher learning that face similar challenges in a dynamic, diverse and volatile environment.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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