Knowledge exchange at York St John: Building capacity in a small university.

FOWLER, Davis Sally. (2010). Knowledge exchange at York St John: Building capacity in a small university. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Government policy and Higher Education (HE) sector strategy has promoted increased external engagement and participation in the knowledge economy on the part of universities. These drivers have sought to encourage academics to become engaged in the economic, social and cultural issues of society and to address problems in such a way as to demonstrate a knowledge contribution from the academy. Universities, as knowledge intensive organizations respond by changing their organizational structures and processes to support knowledge exchange and to encourage the involvement of academics in this endeavour. This thesis demonstrates how the concept of absorptive capacity (Cohen & Levinthal 2000) was used to understand knowledge exchange capacity at York St John University; a learning and teaching organization with newly acquired University status and a key strategic aim associated with increasing enterprise and knowledge exchange. The action research revealed a very limited development of knowledge exchange strategy and planning and limited ability to 'assimilate' and therefore 'exploit' new knowledge. Academic individualism and managerial control inhibited participation in the action research process and whilst the diagnosis was partly shared with the academic community further actions were not achieved. However a subsequent re-structuring of the University and a very senior appointment to lead external facing activity, suggested that a structural commitment to external engagement was made. Following a critical reflection on the research process and the systems theory of absorptive capacity, the contribution to practice-knowledge a conceptual framework was devised to explain the outcomes of the action research. The framework 'Knowledge Exchange Leadership in High and Low Absorptive Capacity Settings' articulates how academic leadership mindsets differ in high and low absorptive capacity settings. The framework is based on observed experience and individual interpretation of individual and corporate leadership in low capacity settings and an induction about the same domains in high absorptive capacity settings. The framework will help evaluate HE leadership behaviours and facilitate strategic planning for academic knowledge exchange and organizational knowledge productivity. The framework requires further application in other university contexts, to validate it as a practice tool for individual and organizational development. Through epistemological reflection, the functionalist approach (Burrell & Morgan 1979) through action research is questioned. The practitioner-inquiry experience leads to a more critical and interpretive understanding about the barriers to university based organizational change. Further consideration is given to managing action research using more participative methods. I suggest some key questions to engage the academic community in knowledge exchange and 'engaged scholarship' (Van de Ven 2010) as a means to improve engagement with knowledge and to improve assimilation and capacity for knowledge exchange.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Doherty, Liz
Additional Information: Thesis (D.B.A.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2010.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:18
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:11

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