INNOVATION AT UNIVERSITIES: A NEW APPROACH OF ITS DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (SPAIN)
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:The environment in which universities develops are highly complex, changing and demanding; this is the reason why universities are building up on profound changes and innovations. There exist several ways to analyze university’s innovations. To fully examine them, one should first study some dimensions formerly identified by different authors: origin (beginning, causes) (De la Torre, 1994), values (set of shared beliefs, ideology, thoughts or aims that orientate the innovation (King and Anderson, 2002; Boada, de la Fuente y de Diego, 2007), leadership (innovator’s promoters or leaders style and perceptions) (McNay, 1995; Ramsden, 2002 and Fullan, 2001, 2008), stages of development (phases of the innovation from planning to its development and integration in institutional practices) (Fullan, 1990; Kanter, 1998; De la Torre, 1998, Hall and Hord, 2001; Nolan and Croson, 1995; Rogers, 2003), strategies (actions, measures or interventions), resistances and obstacles (barriers to innovation) (Robins, 1987; Aguilar, 2003; Villa, 2008), impact (transfer of outcomes to the institutional practice) (Escudero, 1990) and finance (or cost) (Clark (1998a/1998b).
We present a research whose main objective consists of characterizing the relations and dynamics that takes part in the processes of change, starting off of the analyzed organizational culture in Tomàs et al. (2006), in order to propose a model of analysis of the variables explaining the innovation in universities. The methodological design has consisted of six-case studies which represent innovations of different range, nature and moment of development. To gather information, we have used two main instruments: the interview and the focus-group. After the process of analysis of the obtained data, we can consider that the proposed model, in addition to a structure study of interpretative nature, it represents a model that is capable to define, plan, diagnose, assess and inform about processes of university innovation in general. Developed research has came out with several outomes one of which is a comprehensive model of analysis of innovations in the university. The model has two parts: a first one which characterises change and a second one of analysis based on the following seven variables: origin, leadership, phases, values, resistance and obstacles, impact and financing of the innovation.
The model might be used for several purposes. In the first place, it can be used to describe specific scenarios of university innovation. One second utilitty is to analyse in an exhaustive and deep way the change dynamics in the university. The model also allows to raise a structure that favours the comparison with other types of innovations which were developed in the university. One fourth utility would be the possibility of collating the results obtained in the different studied scenes, opening therefore the possibility to studies of comparative nature.
Keywords: innovation, university, leadership and change, impact of change, phases of change, resistance.