About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2589-2599
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1575

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

INFLUENCES ON EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT AND ITS MEASUREMENT IN IRISH HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

R. Vancelee1, R. Kelly2

1Cork Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
2Waterford Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
Engagement implies thoughtful interaction with the world external to the higher education institutions (HEIs) and has been described using words such as partnering, consulting, mutual benefit, communication, and philanthropy. Such engagements occur with stakeholders who are described as any group or individual who can affect or are affected by the achievement of an organisation. Internal stakeholders may include staff and students while external stakeholders include government and funding agencies, other HEIs, professional bodies, alumni, potential students, businesses, and community groups. Types of engagement may relate to: graduate formation, workforce development, research and innovation, social enhancement, and market advancement. HEIs are now engaging with a wide set of stakeholders, increasing the importance of research in this area.

This study explores the external stakeholders with whom Irish HEIs engage and the influences on engagement practice and measurement drawing on new institutional sociology (NIS) and stakeholder theory. It considers the impact of institutional isomorphism and stakeholder salience on HEI engagement with external stakeholders and on the measurement of engagement performance. HEIs cannot attend to all claims on their organisation from the wide range of external stakeholders. Hence, stakeholder salience is significant in determining the degree to which the claims of stakeholders are given priority based on three attributes: stakeholder power to influence, the legitimacy of the stakeholder’s claim, and the degree of urgency of the stakeholder’s claim. Stakeholders therefore can mediate the isomorphic institutional effects proposed by NIS, by acting as buffers or amplifiers of institutional influences. Conversely, institutions can mediate stakeholder effects by legitimating a stakeholder’s claim.

The research adopts a qualitative approach using an exploratory case study. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis. The interviews were conducted with Heads of Department and top managers in the case HEI to assess and analyse their perspectives. Documents analysed include legislation, publications by the case HEI and the Higher Education Authority (HEA), correspondence between the case HEI and the HEA, and other publicly available material.

The results confirm that external stakeholder engagement is influenced by institutional, macro factors such as policy, culture and norms as well as stakeholder proximate factors such as local employer needs. The study highlights the variety of external stakeholders with whom the case HEI engages proposing that combined stakeholder and institutional influences have determined the types of engagement. Regarding engagement performance measurement, the case HEI appears to be involved in what has been termed in the literature as ‘regulatory ritualism’. This is where the HEI is complying with institutional requirements to measure engagement however the measures selected are influenced by the external environment rather than the organisation itself. This indicates decoupling of the measurement system from engagement practise resulting in procedures that are ceremonial and signal conformity, but which are not effective or efficient. The overall effect on the case HEI is a loss of legitimacy in the long-term.
@InProceedings{VANCELEE2018INF,
author = {Vancelee, R. and Kelly, R.},
title = {INFLUENCES ON EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT AND ITS MEASUREMENT IN IRISH HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.1575},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.1575},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {2589-2599}}
TY - CONF
AU - R. Vancelee AU - R. Kelly
TI - INFLUENCES ON EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT AND ITS MEASUREMENT IN IRISH HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.1575
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 2589
EP - 2599
ER -
R. Vancelee, R. Kelly (2018) INFLUENCES ON EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT AND ITS MEASUREMENT IN IRISH HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 2589-2599.
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