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ACCREDITATION: PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES; THE ECSTASY AND THE AGONY

N. Hancioglu Eldridge, J.P. Eldridge

Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta (CYPRUS)
As organizations seek to increase their reputation in an increasingly competitive market, many now choose to develop internal quality assurance measures, such as performance management, and, further, to brand their reputation through external quality assurance bodies. The accreditation process often involves fulfilling a series of pre-set quality standards, and providing evidence of achievement through documentation and inspection. Such processes can energise and improve an institution by providing a valuable template for reflection, planning and development. They can also engender stress, anxiety, conflict and resistance by challenging existing cultures and practices. Furthermore, fixed conformance to pre-defined standards and practices can, if care is not taken, act as a barrier to autonomy, creativity, and hence motivation, which are also fundamental drivers of organizational health and success. This presentation reflects back on our own experience of accreditation at the School of Foreign Languages at Eastern Mediterranean University and seeks to square the accreditation circle, as characterized in by the fraught relationship between formal structure and standards on the one hand and the unique cultural characteristics of an individual organization on the other.