THE ROLE OF THE ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY-BASED PROJECTS AT THE HIGHER EDUCATION: PERCEPTIONS OF THE RESEARCHERS
Istanbul University (TURKEY)
In the digital society, rapid socio-cultural, economic and technological changes have forced higher education in terms of improving innovation and technology-based projects in order to empower new generations, to attract more funding and venture capital, to develop new products and services, to increase the number of startups and spinoffs, and to raise licensing and royalties. On the other hand, organizational culture, which is interpreted as “shared philosophies, ideologies, values, assumptions, beliefs, expectations, attitudes and norms in organizations” (Lund, 2003. p. 3), can be developed in the organization by the people who cope with different problems and issues of external adaptation and internal integration (Schein, 1999). As Zhu and Engels (2014) describe,
Organization culture has three levels which can be shaped over a period of time. The first level is arte facts that comprise the physical components of the organization that relay cultural meaning. The second level deals with the professed culture of an organization’s members – the values. And the third level refers to the organization’s tacit assumptions. Organizational culture is nurtured and shaped gradually reflected in terms of collaboration, trust and learning, and it can shape the behaviors of people in that organization (p. 137).
This study attempts to analyze critically how the role of the organizational culture on the development of innovation and technology-based projects at the higher education from the perspective of the researchers’ perception. The participants (34) of the research were selected from two different universities by doing stratified sampling among the researchers. Hence, in the phenomenological analysis, eleven research questions were answered by the participants, who were coming from engineering departments, medical school, and social sciences, in the semi-structured interviews.
The collected data, which were analyzed in Atlas.ti 7, show that most of the academic people (89%), who were coming from well-developed organization in terms of physical components, had better results in developing innovation and technology comparing to the academic people who were coming from not well-developed cultural organization. Furthermore, the second level, which is related to the values of the organization, is strategically important in order to increase the depthless of the innovation and technology-based projects development. As most of the researchers (91%) agree that the values, particularly trustworthiness, ethics, transparency, and accountability, improve their commitment and make change attitudes towards their efforts and achievements. However, in the case of the low cultural values, the large number of the participants (98%) mention that the lack of values, particularly main values, like ethics, transparency, and accountability, demotivate them and decrease their efficiencies and effectiveness. Additionally, in the third level, which is organization’s tacit knowledge and capacity building in technology transfer, a large number of the participants (85%), who are coming from the well-developed organizational culture, point out that if the first two levels are not achieved, it is difficult to transfer the knowledge, especially tacit knowledge. In the second institution, however, the participants (89%) agree that the transfer of the tacit knowledge is very limited.