Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 205031
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE

Participation for optimal organisational change

An EU-funded research project investigated perceptions of European Higher Education Area faculty with regard to the legitimacy and significance of accreditations. Of particular interest was the extent to which these perceptions influenced actual implementation of the accreditations.
Participation for optimal organisational change
The stated aim of quality assessments is to improve on products and services offered by universities. However, research has spotlighted a faculty group viewing these accreditation exercises as a means to justify government budget cuts in education. The project 'The roles of legitimacy and significance in higher education accreditations' (ROLEG-SIG-ACCREDIT) surveyed more than 300 faculties from 20 academic programmes undergoing quality assessments, and studied faculty perceptions of reasons for these actions.

An analysis of study results revealed that faculty involvement in the assessment process works to ensure, for the most part, that quality assessments are not carried out for instrumental reasons. Also, faculty are more likely to rate the assessments as legitimate and to identify more with the academic programme being assessed, when they believe assessments are carried out for reasons of quality improvement. The study successfully highlighted the importance of faculty participation in overcoming initial scepticism regarding external interventions.

ROLEG-SIG-ACCREDIT research carried out during the second two-year phase focused on business firms and other types of management innovations. More specifically, research in this second and last phase examined factors that help the human resources (HR) function to gain greater acceptance from employees in terms of new proposals and innovations. The study of an original sample of 298 employees from nine large firms in Spain indicated that HR department credibility is just one factor influencing employees' acceptance. Related project research in this area also suggested that HR credibility plays an important role, regardless of the climate of organisational innovation.

The main research interest underlying both two-year phases was to understand how the targets of management innovations in organisations react to implementation of the innovations. ROLEG-SIG-ACCREDIT contributed new knowledge and insights relevant to both contexts, with implications for organisational change and the positive effects of supporting a participatory organisational culture.

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