(Dimension 4) Engagement and collaboration vision, culture and attitudes

This dimension refers to the existence of characteristics of an external engagement culture within the institution and among its staff. If you wish to learn more about the engagement readiness concept and its dimensions, you can download the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report.

On this page you will find a set of tools for improvement of an HEI’s engagement readiness in terms of engagement and collaboration vision, culture and attitudes. If you have already completed your self-assessment you might have been directed towards specific tools from the set. You can also browse through the tools without participating in the self-assessment, but we strongly recommend the online self-assessment tool for building a tailored roadmap to engagement readiness, as well as specific recommendations for relevant tools.

Click on each title to open the tool. Click on any other title to proceed with viewing another tool. If you doubt that some element doesn’t display right, please, reload the page.

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This blog post is part of a series exploring the factors within the key themes that contribute to university readiness for engagement, as identified by the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report. 

Organizational culture shapes all traits of organizations, including soft (beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, customs, etc.) and hard factors (structure, policies, rules, the provision of staff, training, technology, and other resources, etc.). In order to transition to an organizational environment that is ready to engage with external partners, it is necessary for HEIs to have a well-developed collaborative culture which includes institutional willingness for change, openness, flexibility and trust. 

Read the whole article to find out more about: 

  • strategic orientation towards engagement and meaningful social impact 
  • administrative structure and policies that facilitate engagement 
  • collaboration-attuned hiring and career advancement policies.
Overlapping blocks in different shades of green.
photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

The Engagement Readiness Toolkit offers you quick tips for improving your organization’s engagement readiness level. If you don’t have the time to go through any other material, you can at least take this syntesized piece of advice with you through the day and reflect on it in your work. 

This one, as all suggested quick tips, is based on the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report, available for download on the Engagement Readiness Monitor website. 

Engagement readiness quick tip: Top-level HEI management is one of the key agents in fostering institutional engagement readiness and cultural acceptance, through creating the strategic orientation and an institutional approach for engagement, and generating a specific organizational culture that sets the tone for everything else (such as communication networks, financial resourcesc, hiring practices and operational support).

Go through the following slides to find out how an HEI could foster a culture of engagement through the creation and use of role models.

This study attempted to examine the effect of organizational commitment on employee engagement among universities’ administrators in public universities of Malaysia. For the purpose of the study, data were collected through a structured questionnaire from 400 participants consisting of administrators in public universities in Malaysia. Collected data were analyzed using partial least square (PLS) structured equation modeling with the support of SMART PLS 2.0. Findings revealed that affective commitment and normative commitment has significant effect on employee engagement while continuance commitment was not found to have any significant effect on employee engagement. The outcomes of this empirical study will help in designing appropriate human resource management policies to improve the engagement level of administrator at all public universities in Malaysia.

Reference: Ruslan, R. I., Islam, M. A., Noor, I. M., Mat, N., & Amiruddin, A. A. (2019). Organizational Commitment And Employee Engagement Among Administrators In Public Universities In Malaysia. Sains Humanika11(2-2).

Link to the full article: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335686068_Organizational_Commitment_And_Employee_Engagement_Among_Administrators_In_Public_Universities_In_Malaysia

Think about what have you read; how can you use what you learned to improve engagement readiness?

The interview data was used to create two case studies – one for a charity and one for a private sector organisation. Both organisations were ‘advanced’ in their management development journey, that is, they had considered most of the factors found to be important for the success of the management development programme and had therefore reached higher levels in the maturity framework. A further, third case study was also developed. This describes an organisation that took part in the first stage of the research in 2014, as a result of which they received a gap analysis report. In 2015–16 the organisation took part in an action-learning process, designed to help it take action to focus on the identified gaps in their management development approach. The writeup of this case study therefore contains in-depth information about how and why they adapted and evolved their management development programme. 

Link to the full case study: cipd.co.uk/Images/developing-managers_2017-case-studies_tcm18-18366.pdf 

The cover of the case study. A map of Europe with a pin set on Gdansk, Poland. Text: Gdansk University of Technology: The special purpose vehicles driving GUT commercialization activities.

This case provides an excellent example of a formal university strategy that explicitly encourages engagement and collaboration. 

Gdansk University of Technology is one of the oldest universities in Poland; however, in recent years it has opened itself up to the economic and social changes and demands of the environment, becoming an important actor in the regional economy. The university’s new strategy strongly encourages cooperation with business and the commercialisation of research results. An important role of supporting UBC is played by several tacit and explicit processes and structures that are changing the perception of the university in the regional innovation and economic development. In this context, the newly established Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer (CKTT), and the Excento Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) drive the technological commercialisation activities of the university. 

A photo from Gdansk University of Technology.

Think about what have you read; how can you use what you learned to improve engagement readiness?

The management of a HEI could contribute to the building or strengthening of a culture of engagement by consciously steering HEI’s human resources towards engagement within a consistent management model. How to do this? Find out by reading the section Managing the human resources for engagement readiness of the blog post The Human Factor in Higher Education InstitutionsEngagement. The conclusions in the blog post were made by analysing Jamk University of Applied Sciencesconducted expert interviews for the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report. 

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photo by Danist Soh on Unsplash

Think about what have you read; how can you use what you learned to improve engagement readiness?

The cover of the case study. A map of Europe as a background with a pin set on Innsbruck, Austria. -text: Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) - The Entrepreneurial School: Strategic engagement with industry allows MCI to provide students with better pathways to employment.

This case provides an excellent example of an institution that embraces a culture of collaboration and engagement at all levels of the organization. The driver for the institution to grow this culture is to develop successful and impactful graduates. 

The Management Centre Innsbruck (MCI) in Austria strategically engages with employers to improve teaching and learning and enhance student employability. From the top-level of the institution to the bottom, MCI embraces cooperation with industry as a means for developing graduates who possess the knowledge they need to succeed and make significant contributions in their fields and in society at large.  

For this reason, MCI approaches their business partnerships very strategically. They invite specifically-chosen members in industry into the university as partners in the development and delivery of their programmes. This has benefits for both sides. Firstly, students benefit from having curricula aligned with the needs of the industry with material being delivered directly from professionals in-practice. This generates a more direct path to employment. Businesses benefit from having graduates who are job-ready as well as being able to better scout and win top student talent. 

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Think about what have you read; how can you use what you learned to improve engagement readiness?

The Engagement Readiness Toolkit offers you quick tips for improving your organization’s engagement readiness level. If you don’t have the time to go through any other material, you can at least take this syntesized piece of advice with you through the day and reflect on it in your work. 

This one, as all suggested quick tips, is based on the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report, available for download on the Engagement Readiness Monitor website. 

Engagement readiness quick tip: The availability of the following resources can facilitate and streamline engagement: Esistance of a Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO), Technology Transfer Office (TTO), or Partnership Office, Communication Networks, and Financial Resources. However, engagement readiness is also possible without the following organizational resources if an HEI has an ecosystem approach and a culture of collaboration.

Knowledge sharing is the primary source of gaining competitive advantage and achieving long term success. Knowledge sharing is affected by many factors and the foremost of them is the culture of an organization. Organizational culture will help in developing the knowledge sharing practices among the members of an organization and achieve organizational objectives. The aim of the present study; firstly, to find out how the culture affects knowledge sharing in UTM (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) and which of the cultural factors are more prevalent in developing knowledge sharing practices; secondly, to determine the level of knowledge sharing among the academic staff holding administrative positions in various faculties and departments of the university. Using quantitative approach, data was collected through survey questionnaire from a sample of 132 respondents. The analysis was carried out using descriptive and inferential statistics. Three of the dimensions of OC, workgroup support, information technology, and social interaction are found to be most significant in UTM, while reward system is found to be insignificant. Knowledge sharing is found to be high among academic staff holding administrative posts. The study concludes that organizational culture factors, workgroup support, information technology and social interaction are the most important factors that are helping in enhancing knowledge sharing in UTM. Finally, some recommendations related to the future studies are also included like investigating all levels and incorporating both administrative and academic staff, comparison with other public sector universities and between public and private sector universities.

Reference: Mahmoud, Mohammad & Md Rasli, Amran & Othman, Mohd & Sukati, Inda. (2014). The effect of organizational culture on knowledge sharing among academic staff holding an administrative position in university. Journal of Management Info. 1. 21-25.

Link to the full article: http://dx.doi.org/10.31580/jmi.v3i1.13

Think about what have you read; how can you use what you learned to improve engagement readiness?

Culture provides the main background of knowledge increase. As an important sub culture, academic culture has a large impact on the development of knowledge creation. This research studies academic culture and knowledge management in higher education system. For the purpose of study, a sample including academic scholars and experts (academic staff members) was chosen using objective sampling and interviewed. Interviews continued until implicit effective cultural aspects and factors on the knowledge management of academic staff members were identified and described. Qualitative stage of current study led to the identification of effective cultural factors on knowledge management. Additionally, the constructs of knowledge culture in higher education system was identified considering research theoretical bases and findings.

Reference: Sarmadi, M. R., Nouri, Z., Zandi, B., & Lavasani, M. G. (2017). Academic culture and its role in knowledge management in Higher Education system. International journal of environmental and science education12(5), 1427-1434.

Link to the full article: http://www.ijese.net/makale_indir/IJESE_1907_article_5973295d0b247.pdf

Think about what have you read; how can you use what you learned to improve engagement readiness?

Knowledge sharing is a significant component of success in knowledge management. In Saudi Arabia, knowledge management is often lacking when it comes to knowledge sharing adoption, especially between academic staff. This research aims to investigate various factors of knowledge sharing adoption for eLearning communities in Saudi Arabia and to examine the effect of culture as a moderating role on the relationships between these factors and academics’ attitude. Therefore, a framework is aimed at sharing knowledge within the eLearning communities is developed. Data has been collected from public universities in Saudi Arabia. Partial Least Square approach has been applied to analyse the data. The results show individual factors (such as openness in communication, interpersonal trust) and technology acceptance factors (perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use) significantly influence knowledge sharing attitude, while the relationship between people self-motivation and knowledge sharing attitude is insignificant. Subjective norm and attitude significantly impact behavioral intention toward knowledge sharing adoption in Saudi universities’ eLearning communities.

Reference: Chandran, D., Alammari, A.M. Influence of Culture on Knowledge Sharing Attitude among Academic Staff in eLearning Virtual Communities in Saudi Arabia. Inf Syst Front 23, 1563–1572 (2021).

Link to the full acticle: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10796-020-10048-x

Note that the article is not open-access.

Think about what have you read; how can you use what you learned to improve engagement readiness?

On the following interactive cards you will find engagement motivators of staff. Turn the card to find an description of each motivator. The motivators are based on the UBC report 2018 (link below). 

Culture provides the main background of knowledge increase. As an important sub culture, academic culture has a large impact on the development of knowledge creation. This research studies academic culture and knowledge management in higher education system. For the purpose of study, a sample including academic scholars and experts (academic staff members) was chosen using objective sampling and interviewed. Interviews continued until implicit effective cultural aspects and factors on the knowledge management of academic staff members were identified and described. Qualitative stage of current study led to the identification of effective cultural factors on knowledge management. Additionally, the constructs of knowledge culture in higher education system was identified considering research theoretical bases and findings.

Reference: Sarmadi, M.R., Nouri, Z., Zandi, B. & Lavasani, M.G. (2017). Academic culture and its role in knowledge management in higher Education system. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 12(5), 1427-1434.

Link to the full article: http://www.ijese.net/makale_indir/IJESE_1907_article_5973295d0b247.pdf

Think about what have you read; how can you use what you learned to improve engagement readiness?

The article offers an analysis of the organizational culture at a higher education institution as in the case of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, conducted in order to study the students’ involvement in this culture and to draw conclusions as to what organizational culture principles are internalized by the students. The study used survey methodology and the OCAI (Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument) tool. The article’s content is based on the methods of analyzing, synthesizing and aggregating the data acquired during the empirical study. The article concludes that, in the students’ opinion, a hierarchy culture prevails at the university and that the students potentially expect some changes in the style of that organizational culture; it should be pointed out that this piece of diagnostics sets the direction for further development in terms of which the progress of the university’s organizational culture will have to be consistently adjusted and stimulated. 

Reference: Vasyakin, B.S., Ivleva, M.I., Pozharskaya, Y.L., & Shcherbakova, O.I. (2016). A Study of the Organizational Culture at a Higher Education Institution (Case Study: Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (PRUE)). International journal of environmental and science education, 11, 11515-11528. 

Link to the full article: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1121254.pdf  

Think about what have you read; how can you use what you learned to improve engagement readiness?