Educational Change Management Accreditation Learning and Teaching Systems Thinking


This paper seeks to develop a case-based systems perspective on how university-led educational change initiatives to enhance the student experience and student learning interweave with external influences on the development and management of academic programmes. The paper provides an illustration of how a case-based systems approach, systems representational tool and systems perspective may not only provide a platform for a multi-level analysis of factors impacting on the management of learning and teaching initiatives, but also highlight how such initiatives, for example, accreditation and assurance of student learning initiatives, though well-intentioned and effective initially, may have unintended and undesirable consequences. The case-based analysis uses systems notions to conceptualise aspects of change management relating to educational initiatives that provides a complementary or alternative understanding of the underlying processes through which change is affected. Our descriptive schematic systems representations depict different nested 'layers' of events, factors and relationships, which have an attendant face validity in depicting the change process as it may play out in institutions subject to internal and external forces that impact learning and teaching initiatives. In doing so, the paper bridges a perceived gap in the educational change management literature - namely, the lack of reported research involving systems methodologies.

Full Text : PDF

  1. AACSB. (2015). 2013 Standards --A Bold Evolution for the Global Business Revolution. AACSB International. Retrieved from:
  2. AMBA. (2015). The Value of Accreditation. AMBA. Retrieved from:
  3. Altbach, P. G. (1998). Research, policy, and administration in higher education: The Review at twenty. Review of Higher Education, 21(3), 205–207.
  4. Argyris, C. and Schon, D.A. (1974), Theory in Practice Increasing Professional Effectiveness, Josey-Bass, San Francisco.
  5. AUSSE (2015). Australasian Survey of Student Engagement. Retrieved from:
  6. Bandura, A., (1978) The Self System in Reciprocal Determinism. American Psychologist, Vol. 33, No.4 (April), pp. 344-358.
  7. Bonoma, T.V. (1985), “Case research in marketing: Opportunities, problems and a process”,
  8. Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 12, pp. 199-208
  9. Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities for the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  10. Braxton, J. M. (2005). Reflections on a scholarship of practice. Review of Higher Education, 28(2), 285–293.
  11. Cavana, R.Y., Delahaye, B.L., Sekaran, U. (2001), Applied business research: Qualitative and quantitative methods, John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Australia
  12. Coakley, JJ. (1994). Sport in society : issues and controversies. 5th Ed. St. Louis, Ill: Mosby, p134 Coakley, J. J. (2001). Sport and society: Issues and controversies (7th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill. Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (2000). The Handbook of Qualitative Research (2nd ed.).
  13. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  14. Dyer, W.G., Wilkins, A.R. (1991), “Better stories, not better constructs, to generate better theory: A rejoinder to Eisenhardt”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 613-619.
  15. Eisenhardt, K.M. (1989). Building Theories from Case Study Research, The Academy of Management Review, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Oct., 1989), pp. 532-550
  16. Eisenhardt, K.M. (1991), "Better stories and better constructs: the case for rigour and comparative logic", Academy of Management Review, Vol.16 No.3, pp.620-627.
  17. Espejo, R. and Harnden, R. (1989), "The VSM: An Ongoing Conversation", in Espejo R and Harnden R (Ed.), The VSM: Interpretations and Applications of Stafford Beer's VSM, Wiley, Chichester, p. 445.
  18. 15   A Journal of the Academy of Business and Retail Management (ABRM)
  19. International Journal of Higher Education Management (IJHEM) Vol. 2  Number 1    August 2015   
  20. Forstmoser, R. (2002), in EIU, Corporate governance: The new strategic imperative. Economist Intelligence Unit,, pp24, 14/10/02
  21. Ghoshal, S., (2005) Bad Management Theories Are Destroying Good Management Practices, Academy of Management Learning & Education, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp.75-91.
  22. Giddens, A., (1987) Social Theory and Modern Sociology, Polity Press, Cambridge.
  23. Gioia D. A. and Pitre, E. (1990), "Multiparadigm Perspectives on Theory Building", Academy of Management Review, Vol.15, pp. 584-602.
  24. Glaser, B.G. and Strauss, A.L. (1967), The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies For Qualitative Research, Adline, Chicago.
  25. Gummesson, E. (1991), Qualitative Methods in Management Research, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA.
  26. HEFCE (2009). Review of the Quality Assurance Framework. News release - Students to take central role in new quality arrangements, 01 December 2009. Retrieved from:
  27.,94433,en.html. HEFCE. (2015a). National Student Survey. 9 December 2014. Retrieved from:
  28. HEFCE (2015b). Future approaches to quality assessment in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – Quality Assessment Review. News release – New approach to ensure high-quality learning and teaching in universities and colleges, 29 June 2015. Retrieved from:
  29.,104412,en.html. HEFCE (2009). National Student Survey 2009 – Media Release 6 August 2009.
  31. Since 2005, the NSS has helped over two million students make their voices heard about the things that matter to them. These voices have helped to bring about significant and positive change in higher education.
  32. The results are used by senior management teams, academics, students' unions and others to drive improvements in curriculum, teaching and learning quality, learning resources and academic support.
  34. Homburg, C. and Pflesser, C. (2000), “A Multiple-Layer Model of Market-Oriented Organizational Culture: Measurement Issues and Performance Outcomes”, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 37, November, pp. 449-462.
  35. Huang, Yi-Hui (2001). Should a Public Relations Code of Ethics Be Enforced? Journal of Business Ethics, 31: 259-270.
  36. Kohlberg, L. (1969). Stage and sequence. The cognitive-developmental approach to socialization. In D. Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of socialization theory and research. Chicago: Rand McNally, pp. 347-480.
  37. Kohlberg, L. (1984a). Essays in moral development: Vol. II. The psychology of moral development: Moral stages, their nature and validity. San Francisco: Harper & Row.
  38. 16   A Journal of the Academy of Business and Retail Management (ABRM) 
  39. International Journal of Higher Education Management (IJHEM) Vol. 2  Number 1    August 2015  
  40. Kohlberg, L., & Candee, D. (1984b). The relationship of moral judgment to moral action. In W. M. Kurtines & J. L. Gerwitz (Eds.), Morality, moral behavior and moral development. New York: Wiley, pp. 52-73.
  41. Longstaff, S. (2002). Gloom at the Top: Excess Baggage. The Bulletin, Sydney, September 3 2002, pp.44-55.
  42. McKeown, T. J. (1999). Case Studies and the statistical worldview: Review of King, Keohane and Verba's Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. International Organization, 53(1), 161-190
  43. McCormick, A.C. and McClenney, K. (2012). Will These Trees Ever Bear Fruit? A Response to the Special Issue on Student Engagement. The Review of Higher Education
  44. Winter 2012, Volume 35, No. 2, pp. 307–333
  45. NSS (2009). National Student Survey. Retrieved from
  46. Power, F.C., Higgins, A., Kohlberg, L. & Reimer, J. (1989). From Moral Discussion to Democratic Governance. In Power, F.C., Higgins, A. & Kohlberg, L (Eds.), Lawrence Kohlberg's Approach to Moral Education. New York: Wiley, pp. 7-32.
  47. Ragin, C. and Becker, H. (Eds.). (1992). What is a Case? Exploring the Foundations of Social Inquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  48. Sage, G. (1998). Does sport affect character development in athletes? JOPERD - The Journal of Physical Educations, 69(1): 15-1u9.
  49. Saunders, J., Saker, J. and Smith, G. (1996), "Foreword: Exploring Marketing Planning", Journal of Marketing Management", Vol.12 No.1/3, pp.1-3.
  50. Senge, P.M. (1990) The Fifth Discipline. New York: Doubleday/Currency.
  51. Senge, P.M. et al. (1994) The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
  52. Senge, P.M. et al. (1999) The Dance of Change: The Challenges of Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
  53. Snell, R.S (2000). Studying Moral Ethos Using an Adapted Kohlbergian Model. Organization Studies, 21(1): 267-295.
  54. Snell, R.S (1995). Does Lower-Stage Ethical Reasoning Emerge in More familiar Contexts? Journal of Business Ethics, 14: 959-976.
  55. Terenzini, P. T. (1996). Rediscovering roots: Public policy and higher education research. Review of Higher Education, 20(1), 5–13.
  56. Treanor, J. (2002). Calvinist on a clean-up quest. The Guardian, London, June 29 2002, p26. VUW (2006). Pathways to Success: Report of the 2006 Working Group at Victoria University.
  57. Retrieved from: n VUW. (2010a). Student Experience Strategy 2010-2014. Retrieved from:
  58. VUW. (2010b). Learning and Teaching Strategy 2010-2014. Retrieved from: Yin, R.K. (1984), Case Study Research, Design and Methods, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills.
  59. 17   A Journal of the Academy of Business and Retail Management (ABRM)    
  60. International Journal of Higher Education Management (IJHEM) Vol. 2  Number 1    August 2015 
  61. Yin, R.K. (1989), Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Vol. 5, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA.
  62. Yin, R.K. (1993), Applications of Case Study Research, Vol. 34, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA.