Using a theoretical framework of institutional culture to analyse an institutional strategy document

Jacobs, Anthea Hydi Maxine (2016)

CITATION: Jacobs, A. H. M. 2016. Using a theoretical framework of institutional culture to analyse an institutional strategy document. Education as Change, 20(2):204–220, doi:10.17159/1947-9417/2016/944.

The original publication is available at https://upjournals.co.za/index.php/EAC

Article

This paper builds on a conceptual analysis of institutional culture in higher education. A theoretical framework was proposed to analyse institutional documents of two higher education institutions in the Western Cape, for the period 2002 to 2012 (Jacobs 2012). The elements of this theoretical framework are ‘shared values and beliefs’, ‘language’, ‘symbols’ and ‘knowledge production’. Even though the larger study focused on two higher education institutions, the focus in this paper is only on Stellenbosch University (SU). The aim of the paper is to explore how the constitutive elements of the proposed theoretical framework are constructed in the Institutional Intent and Strategy 2013-2018 document of SU. The findings of the larger 2012 study suggested a missing link between transformation and institutional culture. Although SU is striving towards an inclusive campus or institutional culture, the contention is that transformation extends far deeper. The current analysis reveals that the challenges SU is facing are two-fold. Firstly, the university has to make sure that the proposed ‘core processes’ represent significant actions to address the challenges related to transforming the university’s institutional culture. Secondly, SU should guard against the use of concepts such as ‘redesign’ to imply transformation.

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