Organizational Culture and Educational Innovations in Turkish Higher Education: Perceptions and Reactions of Students

By Caliskan, Aysun; Zhu, Chang | Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, January 2020 | Go to article overview

Organizational Culture and Educational Innovations in Turkish Higher Education: Perceptions and Reactions of Students


Caliskan, Aysun, Zhu, Chang, Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri


With the enormous scientific and technological developments, higher education institutions around the world are facing rapid structural, social, and technological changes as important centers of talent development, knowledge production and sharing for countries (Lundvall, 2007). The evolution of globalization and the internationalization as a possible response to globalization (Delgado-Márquez, Hurtado-Torres, & Bondar, 2011) have led to some changes in higher education systems (Deem & Brehony, 2005), such as organizational performance, structure, management, leadership, finance, autonomy, reward system, new methods, new courses and program, new curricula, and the application of technology in the educational approaches (Zhu, 2012).

Among these changes, while some are related to macro level which refers to national/state higher education policies, governance, and structure, some are related to micro- level which refers to the teaching/learning processes and educational strategies and methods (D'Andrea, 2007). As for the latter, it includes collaborative learning, student learning and the use of educational technologies (online learning and computer supported collaborative learning; Atmaca, 2007; Gokhale, 1995). To fulfill their educational, social and economic needs in the 21st century, higher education institutions need to respond to changing education needs, to adopt to the more flexible modes of organization and governance (Gardner, 2002). However, the implication of educational innovations in higher education institutions is a major challenge (Stevens, 2004). The main challenge faced by institutions is the governmental and institutional failure to recognize the need for change in organizational cultures and structures and educational approaches (Latchem, Jung, Aoki, & Ozkul, 2008).

The existing body of research suggests that organizational culture influences educational institutions (Eren & Kılıç, 2014; Kezar & Eckel, 2002; Kuruuzum, Asilkan, & Cizel, 2005). Poskiene (2006) further investigates that organizational culture specifies the complex set of ideologies, beliefs, attitudes and values which have an impact on the potential source of innovation. Likewise, Quinn and Rohrbaugh (1983) have stressed that organizational culture has an impact on management, productivity, change and innovation for higher performance in educational settings. By drawing on the concept of the culture of innovation, Thompson (1966) mentions that innovation must begin at the management level, points out that the leaders should be open to take risks and accept the drawbacks. Herbig and Dunphy (1998) indicate that innovation tends to occur in less hierarchic environments in which are based on creativity, decentralized authority and change. Thus, regarding organizational structure, bureaucracy and innovation are two terms which are mutually exclusive, a finding confirmed by Tian, Deng, Zhang, and Salmador (2018). Following these elements, collaboration is a process in organizations to be innovative. It is a key factor that enables the accomplishment of the objectives which cannot be attained individually (Bronstein, 2003). This view is supported by Dombrowski et al. (2007) who wrote that collaboration produces reasonable benefits in high trust environments where the members of the organization share their knowledge, beliefs and concerns openly. They further emphasize that in an innovation culture, a distributed network can allow organizations to adapt, support and implement new ideas.

Despite these studies, debate continues about the restraining factors to educational innovations. These include risk, short vision, lack of skilled personnel, innovation costs, lack of customer responsiveness, lack of information on technologies, rigid structure and management control (Arad, Hanson, & Schneider, 1997). Yet, the existing studies fail to understand the role of specific organizational culture dimensions in educational innovations (Doruk, 2014; Efeoğlu & Ulum, 2017). …

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