Strategic Planning in Ireland’s Institutes of Technology
thesisposted on 2010-07-27, 09:41 authored by Laurence Patrick Elwood
The adoption of new managerial philosophies within higher education is well documented and has increased significantly in the last decade. Of these adoptions, strategic planning within higher education institutes in the Republic of Ireland is particularly relevant given the legislative requirement underpinning such planning exercises. This dissertation investigates the lived experiences of academics and manager-academics with strategic planning exercises within Ireland’s Institute of Technology sector, and proposes an alignment-focussed strategic planning framework for consideration. The design, measurement and analysis issues which informed the research instrument sought to measure the degree of alignment across academics and manager-academics with their institute’s strategic plans. A central consideration was whether or not the managerial practices and processes adopted in the preparation of strategic plans impacted negatively or positively on the lived experiences of both groups. Consequently the research methodology was hermeneutically phenomenological. Academic organisations as workplaces have not always proved amenable to either the adoption of new managerial practices or the re-orientation of education to commodity status. The introduction of new managerialism in the Institute of Technology sector has been characterised by legislative change and market forces. Simultaneously this sector has also become more exposed to a growing accountability and transparency agenda at the behest of Ireland’s higher education policy makers. The academics and manager-academics surveyed in this research provide little evidence of a successful transition of new managerialism within those institutes surveyed. Additionally no evidence could be found of alignment with the published strategic plans of those institutes surveyed. The research identified numerous reasons for this non-alignment, including; an inability amongst academics to identify any real benefits from the strategic planning process; and, a perception amongst both groups that the preparation of strategic plans merely satisfied a bureaucratic requirement.