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Title: How an organisation responds to multiple institutional logics : integrating UK and Chinese quality assurance systems in one university
Author: Wang, Niya
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 2072
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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Transnational higher education is becoming a fast growing and increasingly researched area as China emerges as one of the most promising markets worldwide. Most research on quality assurance of transnational higher education focuses on challenges of quality assurance practice in particular regions or analyses quality assurance from the perspective of exporting countries or institutions. There is a lack of research applying institutional theory to study assurance systems of transnational higher education in China. This thesis addresses the gap through investigating the process of integrating UK and Chinese quality assurance systems at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), with the objective to identify what strategies have been adopted by the university in order to respond to potential multiple institutional logics associated with the two quality assurance systems and logics associated with the prior background and experiences of staff. The research is a single case study. It draws on data collected from document analysis and interviews to analyse norms, values, attitudes and behaviours associated with the multiple logics. Thematic analysis has been used to analyse national quality assurance policies and notices, accreditation reports, application documents and interview data, with the aim to generate themes that can best answer the research questions, which are: (1) To what extent are institutional logics manifest in relation to the quality assurance practice at XJTLU and, if so, how do they interact with each other? (2) How has XJTLU responded to multiple institutional logics if they are evident? The findings of the research show that XJTLU's quality assurance system is influenced by two main institutional logics: the self-regulation logic of the UK quality assurance system and the government-driven logic of Chinese quality assurance system. In addition, the attitudes and behaviours of staff in quality assurance practice are also influenced by their prior backgrounds and experiences, which may increase the institutional complexity. Three strategies that were adopted by the university to respond to the multiple logics have been identified through data analysis. The first strategy is using structural differentiation in its organisational structure to respond to the demands from different logics. The second strategy is developing the organisational identity as an innovative pace-maker of joint-venture universities to drive the behaviour of staff when they are facing challenges from multiple logics. The third strategy is constructing identity scripts for individual staff, with which staff from different countries can make sense of the logic of quality assurance system at XJTLU and can act accordingly. The research makes contributions to both theoretical and practical development. The research enriches the theoretical framework of how the organisational structure and organisational identity shape universities' responses to multiple instructional logics, and adds to the literature of institutional theory. Existing theoretical or empirical research assumes that organisations enact single and sustainable responses (Greenwood et al., 2011). However, they ignore the possibilities that an organisation may employ several strategies to respond to multiple institutional logics and that organisation's responses can take place both on the organisational and individual levels. The analysis of this research focuses on both organisational and individual levels, and the findings indicate that structural differentiation, building organisational identity and constructing identify scripts have been adopted as the strategies to respond to multiple institutional logics. The research echoes Greenwood et al.'s (2011) call on studies on sustainability and variability of organisational responses and makes contributions to the literature of organisation's responses to multiple institutional logics. Practically, with increasing overseas institutions of higher education wish to collaborate with Chinese universities, this research offers a reference on how to ensure the standards of the provision of transnational higher education in China.
Supervisor: Kahn, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral