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The ‘Higher-ness’ of ‘Further-ness’ in HFE: Organising at the HFE Interface Higher Education in Further Education in England (HFE) is claimed to be: Under.

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Presentation on theme: "The ‘Higher-ness’ of ‘Further-ness’ in HFE: Organising at the HFE Interface Higher Education in Further Education in England (HFE) is claimed to be: Under."— Presentation transcript:

1 The ‘Higher-ness’ of ‘Further-ness’ in HFE: Organising at the HFE Interface Higher Education in Further Education in England (HFE) is claimed to be: Under theorised Under researched Under Valued

2 The limitation of dichotomies, dualisms and continuums for understanding HFE  Static  Emphasising differences  Lacking in context  Prone to Reification  Simplistic  Lacking holism and relationality

3 An Alternative analytical model  Based upon neo-institutionalist theory: institutions matter  Incorporating context and situational factors and arguing that institutions matter  Arguing for relationality and positionality within an HFE organisational field  Incorporating Holism and Path Dependency

4 Defining Institutions  “the rules of the game in a society, or more formally,..the humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction.” North (1990, p 3)  “(i)nstitutions consist of cognitive, normative, and regulative structures and activities that provide stability and meaning to social behavior. Institutions are transported by various carriers—cultures, structures, and routines—and they operate at multiple levels of jurisdiction” (Scott, 1995 p 33)

5 Legitimacy and Institutions  Organisations seek legitimacy in their operating environment as a means of accessing resources  Coercive isomorphism  Normative isomorphism  Mimetic isomorphism

6 Isomorphism HFE  Coercive isomorphism  QAAHE  HEFCE

7 Isomorphism in HFE  Normative isomorphism Peer review Communities of practice Research networks Disciplinary cultures

8 Isomorphism in HFE  Mimetic isomorphism Reputation Status Brand Often a function of uncertainty

9 Organisational fields  “those organizations that, in aggregate, constitute a recognized area of institutional life: key suppliers, resources and product consumers, regulatory agencies, and other organizations that produce similar services or products” (DiMaggio and Powell 1983, p148)

10 Organisational field  ‘fields are defined in terms of shared cognitive or normative framework or a common regulative system. The notion of field connotes the existence of a community of organizations that partakes of a common meaning system and whose participants interact more frequently and more fatefully with one and another than with actors outside of the field’. Scott (1995:56)

11 Emergence of an Organisational Field  Increased interaction between groups and organisations in field  Common meaning system evolves  Increase of information load that organisations in field are subject to  Coalitions and alliances form over common interests

12 THE HFE Organisational Field Pre 1988: – HFE mainly public sector HFE (dominated by polys and colleges) 1988 – 1992: Incorporation and abolition of the binary divide 1992 – 1997: era of low policy 1997 – date: era of high policy post Dearing

13 Structuration of HFE Organisational Field  By ethos of HFE  By vocational emphasis and closeness to world of work  By different organisational forms  By different traditions and cultures  Through dual structures of funding and quality assurance  By scale and scope  By power asymmetries at the interface

14 Mapping the Institutional Context  Use of a heuristic as context to map socio- structural spaces in HFE organisational field  Helps to identify the process of embedding in context  Captures organisational dispositions (habitus) and organisational positioning  Institutionalising the HFE organisational field  A contested terrain  The legitimation or legitimacy of HFE

15 THE HFE Organisational Field  A positional construct (Positioning and positionality in a field)  Embedded at the Meso level: intersection of macro and micro  An analytical construct  The outcome of a process of institutionalisation and constant change at the boundaries

16 Organisational Dispositions  Preference formation as an aspect of institutional context: institutionalising organisational dispositions  Institutionalised classifications and categories in HFE (conventions and administrative conveniences: a historical legacy)  Positioning and repositioning HFE in an organisational field as a dynamic and iterative process of constant organising at the boundaries of HFE

17 Douglas’ grid group heuristic (sometimes called cultural theory)  A comparative device  Links preferences and dispositions of agents to patterns of organising  Assumes an iterative, dialectical interplay between the two dimensions (grid and group) but not a deterministic one  Asks where do preferences come from?

18 The Grid-Group Heuristic  GRID the degree to which HFE organisations are subject to externally imposed rules and regulations and associated role prescriptions Roles, rules, categories and classifications of regulation that impinge on HFE providers as organisations.

19 The Grid-Group Heuristic  GROUP Patterns of group interaction, identity and boundary maintenance embedded in an organisational field Organisational forms and patterns of structured inter organisational collaboration across HFE interface

20 Grid-Group Fatalism (isolated atomism) Apathy Ritualism Isolation Peripheral Risk as random Hierarchy (bureaucracy) Rule following Standardisation Status orders (Positionality) Centralisation Risk averse Individualism (negotiation/bargaining) Markets Entrepreneurship Discovery processes Bridging Structural Holes Risk as opportunity Egalitarianism (sects/community of practices) Mutuality Networks Clans Enclaves Risk pooled

21 The Grid Group Quadrants  Hierarchy strong grid strong group (Bureaucracy)  Individualism weak grid weak group (Market)  Egalitarianism (Enclaves) strong group weak grid  Fatalism Strong grid weak group (isolated atomism)

22 Boundary work boundary crossings and boundary objects  Structured collaboration across the HFE interface  Mediated through Boundary Objects  Boundary Objects located at inter section of the grid group quadrants

23 Boundary Objects  “objects which both inhabit several intersecting social worlds and satisfy the informational requirements of each of them. Boundary objects are objects which as plastic enough to adapt to local needs and the constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites. They are weakly structured in common use, and become strongly structured in individual use. These objects may be abstract or concrete. They have different meanings in different social worlds but their structure is common enough to more than one world to make them recognizable, a means of translation. The creation and management of boundary objects is a key process in developing and maintaining coherence across intersecting social worlds.” (Start and Griesmer, 1989, p 393)

24 Boundary Objects (Carlile,2002)  Difference  Dependency  Novelty  Boundary Properties Syntactic Semantic pragmatic

25 Hybridisation  Through boundary objects  Through common funding and quality assurance agencies for HE and HFE  Through structured collaboration  Through boundary work  Through common policy focus:  Widening participation  Access  Organisational diversity

26 Context of Structured Collaboration  Facilitate understanding through grid group-heuristic  Maps socio structural space, institutional trajectories and relational spaces within an organisational field  locates boundary objects in inter organisational ‘communities of practice’ across the HFE interface  Contextualises boundaries and the HFE interface  Incorporates dynamic processual view of modal forms of organising in HFE

27 Boundary Objects and transactions at the HFE Interface Hierarchy - Individualism (targets / Performance indicators / Quasi- markets etc.,) Egalitarian - Hierarchy (Peer review / Status order: reputation) Individualism - Hierarchy (League Tables; market forces)

28 Policy Lessons  Perverse incentives  Transaction Costs  Intended and unintended consequences of policy change  Boundary Objects and Boundary Objects in use (embedded)  Contesting Legitimacy in HFE

29 Policy Lessons  Which Boundary Objects are most likely to be effective?  How to manage tensions at the HFE interface?  Dual or binary systems and structures?  Strengths and Weaknesses of different modes of organising  Arguing from different premises (grid and group)

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