APPLICATION OF RELATIONAL COORDINATION MODEL IN STUDENTS’ PERCEPTION OF QUALITY. THE CASE OF ARCADA UNIVERSITY IN FINLAND
Relational coordination (RC) is an organizational framewotk that explain results on firm’s quality. As relational coordination increases, final results improve.
RC model has been applied at Arcada University (Helsinki, Finland). The culture of quality at Arcada University is based on a continuous improvement model PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act,). Students take an active role in different decision making levels by means of a constant and opened communication amongst different university decision makers. This university is composed by 2,443 students, 165 employees, 4 educational departments, 17 grade programs and 10 Master programs. The main objective was to identify in a University of reference, the key success organizational factors in the perception of quality by part of students from the Relational Coordination perspective. Results can help to promote best organizational practices in other universities.
A random sample composed by 100 students in May 2018 was used to collect data via survey of 14 items: five sociodemographic, three on quality perception and six dealing with relational coordination in the University context disaggregated in six profiles: lecturers, administrative and academic staff, students, and other (30 variables have been considered). Likert scale has been applied from 1 (non frequent/non satisfied) to 5 (very frequent/very satisfied).
In a second step, factorial analysis (FA) has been applied as a way to reduce dimensions and maximize the explanation of variance with less factors. FA has also been used as confirmatory method for the proposed dimensions in the relational coordination model. Factorial analysis was used in order to reduce the number of variables and summarize the highest variability. Once the components were selected, the orthogonal varimax rotation was applied to relate more easily the selected variables to the extracted factors. The Bartlett sphericity test and the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin index were applied to verify sample adequacy (KMO>0.7).
Amongst main results we have found: 52.5% of students consider that quality has been maintained or has decreased in the last three years; the rest consider that it has increased. However, 81% of students indicate that quality has improved in the different considered factors. The virtual campus and the administrative staff are dimensions perceived as the highest quality; however, lecturers and academic organization are the ones perceived as worst quality (p<0.05). By applying FA 5 factors have been applied that explained a 61.12% of variance. The first factor explains 26.55% of the variability and it is associated with outstanding variables as the knowledge of the work developed by students, mutual respect with different labour and the existance of shared objectives with students. Higher scores on this factor are aligned with higher levels of work knowledge, mutual respect and shared objectives with the mentioned agents. This factor represents Institutional Coordination. The second factor explains 12.55% of the variability and it is associated with outstanding variables as accurate and frequent communication with the students and main relevant profiles in this case are lecturers and administrative officers. Higher scores on this factor correspond to the need to provide higher levels of accurate and frequent communication. This factor is named Direct Communication.