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Title: Learning to work together : the challenge of collaborative arrangements for strategic projects within HE in Scotland
Author: Allford, Rosemary Wilson
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 8515
Awarding Body: Edinburgh Napier University
Current Institution: Edinburgh Napier University
Date of Award: 2017
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Government policy for economic development across Scotland and the UK is driving an increasing number of strategic alliances in higher education to achieve economies of scale and economies of experience. Higher education institutions have been encouraged through strategic funding to further develop externally facing university-business engagement. Effective collaboration could theoretically produce the advantage of a better student experience and, at the same time, make the market for higher education more competitive. Collaborative structures are complex including the interaction between the people or agents who work within and between them. The challenge is how such collaboration can best be organised to deliver across organisation boundaries. The purpose of the study was to explore and report on a causal story of collaborative practice by examining the insider perspectives of the people engaged in collaborative strategic projects in higher education. Collaboration is defined as a relationship which is mutually beneficial to organisations to achieve common aims, including the structure, roles and relationships within collaborations. The study considered one such strategic project, the Scottish HE Employability Forum,in particular, the lived experience of the members of its project management group and was informed by the evidence based literature. The interpretivist qualitative approach to the study, with semi-structured interviews, represented one specific time interval of the participant voice considering the set-up, implementation and evaluation of the strategic project. The data analysis and findings confirmed a priori themes, for example, the need for trust building, effective leadership and strategic planning. A principle emergent theme was that the notions of agency and reciprocity were not mutually exclusive and impacted on the causal mechanisms and explanation of observed behaviours and relationships of the participant members. A conceptual framework from the current study is presented suggesting themes of collaborative activity being comprised of a broader pattern requiring relational behaviour, expert and champion roles for successful collaboration. A series of recommendations is given for collaborative practice; for project management, effectiveness and sustainability along with key messages of knowledge transfer and learning.
Supervisor: Foster, Monika ; Munro, Anne Sponsor: Edinburgh Napier University
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Higher education ; student experience ; collaborative practice ; knowledge transer ; learning