Queensland University of Technology (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN11 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 3599-3606
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
This study explores organisational capability and culture change through a project developing an assurance of learning program in a business school. In order to compete internationally for high quality faculty, students; strategic partnerships and research collaborations it is essential for Universities to develop and maintain an international focus and a quality product that predicts excellence in the student experience and graduates outcomes that meet industry needs. Developing, marketing and delivering that quality product requires an organisational strategy to which all members of the organization contribute and adhere. Now, the ability to acquire, share and utilize knowledge has become a critical organisational capability in academia as well as other industries. Traditionally the functional approach to business school structures and disparate nature of the social networks and work contacts limit the sharing of knowledge between academics working in different disciplines. In this project a community of practice program was established to include academics in the development of an embedded assurance of learning program affecting more than 5000 undergraduate students and 250 academics from nine different disciplines across four schools.

The primary outcome from the fully developed and implemented assurance of learning program was the five year accreditation of the business schools’ programs by two international accrediting bodies, EQUIS and AACSB. However this study explores a different outcome, namely the change in organizational culture and individual capabilities as academics worked together in teaching and learning teams. This study uses a survey and interviews with the academics involved, through a retrospective panel design which contained an experimental group and a control group. Results offer insights into communities of practice as a means of addressing organisational capability and changes in organisational culture. Knowledge management and shared learning can achieve strategic and operational benefits equally within academia as within other industrial enterprises but it comes at a cost. Traditional structures, academics that act like individual contractors and deep divides across research, teaching and service interests served a different master and required fewer resources. Collaborative structures, fewer master categories of discrete knowledge areas; specific strategic goals; greater links between academics and industry and the means to share learned insights will require a different approach to resourcing both the individual and the team.
Assurance of Learning, Communities of Practice, Organisational Cabability.