Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Senior staff members' perceptions of organisational culture and quality in higher education institutions in England

Lomas, Laurence Edward (2000) Senior staff members' perceptions of organisational culture and quality in higher education institutions in England. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86173) (KAR id:86173)


This thesis sets out to examine the two major concepts of organisational culture and Quality Management (QM) in English Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) by investigating the attitudes of senior staff. The development of QM in commercial, industrial, local government and higher education contexts is chronicled and analysed. The proposition, that emerging QM approaches fail to take account of the diversity of cultures which exists in HEIs, is formulated. In order to examine this proposition, two phases of research were undertaken with senior managers, senior administrators and senior academics. The first phase of the research made use of depth interviews and document analysis in seven particular HEIs. The second phase research involved canvassing the views of senior staff in a larger number of HEIs. The research supports the general findings from the relevant literature that there is diversity of organisational culture between and within HEIs. In addition, the literature and research highlight a noticeable shift in emphasis towards outcome rather than process measures, to fitness of purpose rather than fitness for purpose and towards standards rather than quality. Thus, there is a tendency for the emerging QM approaches to be more absolutist and less relativist than was the case with Higher Education Funding Council for England Quality Assessment. The empirical research tends to support rather than refute the proposition. The complexity of organisational cultures in HEIs, and the consequent disjunction with the emerging QM approaches, is illustrated through the construction of a three dimensional model. This new model adds the dimension of the three stakeholder groups to Dopson and McNay's (1996) model of universities as organisations. In addition, the new model suggests several areas that merit further research

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86173
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Quality management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:32 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2022 12:43 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.