PROJECT-ORIENTED UNIVERSITY – SUSTAINABLE EDUCATION AT STAKE
National School of Political and Administrative Studies (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Projects and project management are nowadays considered as new sources of growth, competitiveness and innovativeness. In this context, marked by the evolution of project management from an engineering technical function to an organizational methodology that can be embraced successfully by communities, associations, municipalities, government agencies, big companies and even societies as a whole, the concepts of project-oriented company and project-oriented society gain ground. In simple terms, project-orientation means that project management is an explicit and routine process of an organization. The premise underlying research into project maturity is that there is a competitive advantage of companies through project-orientation, that there is a correlation between the maturity of a project-oriented company and its managerial competitiveness. Project-oriented organizations are more and more frequent worldwide and, interestingly enough, the trend towards greater maturity in project orientation can be noticed in some Romanian organizations, too (Petrom, Rompetrol, BCR, Romtelecom). In Romania and elsewhere, project-oriented organizations have already proven their competitive advantage over other organizations, as being more flexible, more innovative, and more proficient in dealing with the new, the complex, and the turbulent.
Facing a complex environment, triggered by rapid movements and a dynamic socio-economic context, universities have to change, to adapt, and to be flexible. The concept of project-oriented university is rather new and research dedicated to it is at the beginning. In our opinion, the concept could ground a new model for higher education institutions, a model that views maturity in project management as a means of enabling development and of increasing organization’s (i.e. university) chances to cope with multiple transformations in the external environment. The project-oriented university is an organizational model, which values leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. All these transform the university into an open system, flexible enough to cope with the challenges of today’s realities.
One of the most important characteristics of the project-oriented university, which also transforms it into a vehicle for enabling competitiveness, is its capacity to bridge the gap between the students and the environment in which they will eventually integrate. In other words, the paper analyses the correlation between the project-maturity of universities and their organizational capacity to develop the business-oriented activities that account for a successful relation with the “outer” environment (private and public business). The business-oriented activities of a university are all those initiatives that could bring the university closer to the operating environment, such as: strategic partnerships, alliances, internships opportunities for students, jointly developed projects, innovation management and patents for the public and private companies etc. The paper will provide answers to the following research questions: Is there any correlation between the business-orientation of higher education and the project-orientation of a university? Is the project-oriented university more capable to act as an open system and, thus, adapt its educational schemes to the real socio-economic environment? Are project-oriented universities more likely to produce “useful” knowledge than the traditional universities?
Keywords: university, project management maturity, business orientation, project-oriented.