The enigma of quality in Greek higher education : a mixed methods study of introducing quality management into Greek higher education


Papadimitriou, Antigoni (2011) The enigma of quality in Greek higher education : a mixed methods study of introducing quality management into Greek higher education. thesis.

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Abstract:This study investigated the adoption of quality management in Greek universities as an
outcome of organizational processes. It examined a period in the first decade of the 21st
century when program evaluation and quality management were heavily debated in Greece.
The study recognizes that higher education institutions are complex organizations with
multiple levels; moreover, they exist in a multi-level, multi-actor environment.
Greece presents an environment that is well known for its difficulty in conducting empirical
social science research. Until this dissertation, very few studies have been published
concerning Greek higher education in general and quality management in particular. This
study furthers our understanding of the forces that stimulate or impede changes in Greek
higher education by choosing a multi-level mixed methods research design. This research
used several data-gathering techniques, including document analysis, surveys and interviews
with a variety of stakeholders, to study quality management at national (macro), institutional
(meso), and departmental levels (micro).
Greek higher education institutions are state-funded institutions and operate in a legalistic
environment, under a plethora of laws and regulations. At the macro level the general
consensus was that the Bologna Process was the main reason that drove the Greek
Government in 2005 to adopt a quality assurance policy for higher education. At the meso
level 8 out of 21 universities voluntarily invited an external review (EUA-IEP), which found
that quality management was not a routine practice. Different surveys among institutional
leaders and department heads, respectively, confirmed this finding. At the micro level data
indicated that ISO standards were applied in 32 cases (laboratories and academic support
services) in 7 out of 21 universities. However, in departments quality assurance systems were
either nonexistent or in early stages of development.
Using concepts from neo-institutional theory (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983) along with
organizational characteristics, this research shows that coercive, normative, and mimetic
isomorphic pressures were present, though rarely all at the same time. The lack of coherence
among the three isomorphic pressures seems to explain the widespread failure to adopt
quality management. Leadership proved to be the crucial intra-organizational factor for
change promoting quality management.
Item Type:Thesis
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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