To achieve smooth and orderly operations at an institution of higher learning, it should establish departments of student affairs, audits, remuneration and one section which deals with matters related to student affairs at the institution. The matters can be students’ performance, problems, and studies (Kotter, 2012). Various committees can assist this process. Audit committees oversee the internal control system of the institution and its risk-management system. The remuneration committee sees that the directors are fairly and responsibly compensated and sets the nomination process, evaluation of skills and qualifications of the board needed and overseeing its performance. Under the corporate governance arrangement, these institutions should safeguard that efficiency, effectiveness and culture are upheld. Sound internal control and vigorous risk management stem from the efficient and effective strategic planning can economically benefit the institution (Kotter, 2012).
3.7 TRANSFORMATION OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING
This section looks at organisational transformation at institutions of higher learning under the following headings: functions of institutions of higher learning; which factors may trigger organisational transformation at higher learning institutions; areas that cannot be regarded as the result of organisational transformation; and types of organisational transformation. It concludes with a summary of the functions of higher learning institutions.
3.7.1 Functions of institutions of higher learning
Article 2 of the Declaration on Higher Education adopted in 1998 stipulates that all people seeking access to institutions of higher learning should have equity of access based on merit, capacity, efforts and perseverance (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 1998).
What contributions does the society expect from these institutions of higher learning? Institutions of higher learning should shape their society to ensure the betterment of the society and the country at large. Do these institutions adhere to their mandates? The World Conference on Higher Education in Paris in 1998 accepted Article 1 that stating that the mission of higher education is to educate, to train and to undertake research (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 1998).
What targets should be set in terms of participation in higher education? Who are the different stakeholders? What is the role of the various stakeholders in the higher learning process? How will these targets be achieved – by what form and type of institution, by what mode, over what time? What is the role, if any, of the private sector and the community? A crucial issue in all public institutions of higher learning systems is how the system should be managed. These six key questions, as identified by Fielden (2008), can affect the proper functioning of corporate governance at institutions of higher learning. In recent years higher education reforms caused three types of changes. These changes include: the delegation of powers by central government to another lower level of government; delegation to a specialised board; or delegation direct to institutions themselves. If the delegation of management is passed over to the institution, an effective transparency programme should be in place to avoid the abuse of power at the institutional level (Kotter, 2012).
What powers are retained at the institutions? If the government decides to transfer powers to institutions of higher learning it must decide what strategic functions are too essential and should be retained. Examples of strategic areas may include setting overall policy, strategic planning for the higher learning sector, and negotiating overall funding for the higher learning sector and the co-ordination with all the other ministries regarding educational issues.
Why do organisations and in particular institutions of higher learning need to be transformed? Hanna (2003) argues that people and nations are relying on institutions of higher learning to help develop a positive future. However, to capture the advantage of this more central focus and role, higher learning institutions will need to transform their structures, missions, processes, and programmes in order to be both more flexible and more responsive to changing societal needs. Hanna (2003) stresses that higher education is for the greater good of society. Therefore, institutions of higher learning should benefit all (Najam, 2014). Muller (2014) argues that institutions of higher learning have never been as crucial to countries and the government as they are today. Currently countries have to compete in the global economy and nations need their institutions of higher learning to produce and supply knowledge, and to produce knowledgeable and well-skilled workers throughout the skill range. Najam (2014) also claims that changing geopolitical and socioeconomic setups, as well as resource generation with limited funding are some of the many problems institutions of higher learning, in particular public institutions of higher learning, experience worldwide.
3.7.2 Factors that may cause organisational transformation at institutions of higher learning
Best (2014) states that 600 million of the world citizens are prospective higher learning clients, but only 200 million are registered at institutions of higher learning. According to Best (2014), 90% of the unserved prospective higher learning clients who are currently not catered for are from the developing economies. Coupled with this is an increase of secondary education in enrolment in Africa that can increase tertiary education enrolment (Assie-Lumumba, 2006). Post-colonial enrolment in secondary education increased in Africa in particular South Africa with an enrolment of 94 %. Countries in Africa like Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland also have the highest secondary enrolment, but it does not yet reflect in tertiary education enrolment (Calderon, (2012). He states that the increased enrolment is caused by an increasing population worldwide and that developing and emerging economies have become more significant role players in the global economy. This increase in global enrolment in higher education will have consequences for the way higher education is planned, delivered, funded and the quality assured across the globe. Eshiwani (1999) emphasises the following challenges institutions of higher learning may experience, namely, expansion of student enrolment; equity and access to higher learning; financial issues; the brain drain; information and communication technology; and the impact of tertiary education on unemployment.
Bleiklie, Enders and Lepori (2013) argue that an increase in the number of students that enrol in tertiary education will have an impact on industries that have a higher dependency on skilled individuals with tertiary education. The following drivers for organisational transformation are the integration of organisations with industry, the growth in digital technology, democratisation of knowledge and access and the competitiveness of markets and funding (Ernst ; Young, 2012). Henard and Roseveare (2012), give the following reasons that act against organisational transformation at institutions of higher learning, namely, raising awareness of quality teaching, developing of excellent lecturers, engaging students, building organisations for change and teacher leadership, aligning institutional policy to enable quality teaching, emphasising innovation as a driver for change, and accessing the impact on markets and assessment. Hanna (2003) identifies the following challenges that may initiate organisational transformation at institutions of higher learning, listing removing boundaries, establishing interdisciplinary programmes, supporting entrepreneurial effort and technology, redesigning and personalising student support services, promotion of connected and lifelong learning. Hanna (2003) adds the following: investing in technological competent technologies, building strategic alliances with others, incorporating learning technologies into strategic thinking, measuring programme quality, achieving institutional advantage and transforming of a bureaucratic culture and assumptions.
Kezar (2001) claims that diffusion and adaptation are sometimes mistakenly seen as organisational transformation at institutions of higher learning. Diffusion is an important change strategy but it is not a change model. The stages in a diffusion model include awareness, evaluation and adaptation. Diffusion refers to individuals and not the entire organisation. Institutionalisation evaluates only a part of a process. It is normally seen as the outcome of organisational transformation but also as a process that including three distinct stages. Stage one includes the preparation of the system for change; stage two deals with the change that is present to the system; and in the last stage the system turns into the changed state. Adaptation refers to the adjustment and shift in the organisation or its components to adjust to the changes in the external environments.
3.7.3 Types of organisational transformation at institutions of higher learning
This section covers the various types of transformations an organisation may embark on. Reform is an innovation that is typically employed from the top management of the organisation or from outside the organisation. To introduce this section on the types of organisational transformation at institutions of higher learning, it is important to first look at the two orders of organisational transformation. Goodman (1982) and Levy and Merry (1986) and distinguish between first-order and second-order organisational transformation. Goodman (1982) and Levy and Merry (1986) outline first-order organisational transformation as one which requires minor adjustments and improvements in one or a few dimensions of the organisation, while second-order organisational transformation refers to the transformation of the mission, culture, operational procedures and structures of the organisation and is much more profound than first order transformation. Organisational transformation at institutions of higher learning will constantly occur, irrespective of whether it is minor or major, because the dynamic environment in which they operate require adaptation to new and changing demands.
The two types of innovation according to Christensen and Eyring (2011) are sustaining innovation which refers to making something bigger and better, and disruptive innovation which refers to offering goods or services that are not as good as the best traditional offerings, but are more affordable and easier to use. For example, online learning. This can be complemented with video conferences, the creation of online tutorials, and student discussion forums that traditional face-to-face classes lack. Online learning can become very appealing to the students of traditional institutions. However, to capture the advantage of this more central focus and role, higher learning institutions will need to transform their structures, missions, processes and programmes in order to be both more flexible and more responsive to changing societal needs. Another reason for transformation, offered by Hillman ; Huxley (2016), is the length of time of leaders in office. Hillman and Huxley (2016) state that the duration of the office of Vice-Chancellors in the United Kingdom has become shorter (nine to seven and a half years). This concurs with Kets de Vries (2014) who states that most leaders in top positions are effective and efficient for a period of five to nine years in a stressful leadership position. The reasons for this shorter terms of office can be attributed to the growing demands placed on the role of Vice Chancellor, increased marketization of higher learning institutions and the more active governing bodies of these institutions.
Lozano (2006) identified four characteristics of a sustainable organisational transformation university. These characteristics are key areas, namely critical thinking problem solving in society networks to efficiently and meaningfully share resources; leadership and vision that promote the needed changes (Lozano, 2006). The last key area, if effective, will ensure that institutions of higher learning will be responsive to society’s changing needs. The functional environmental changes and pressures on institutional resources have increased drastically over the years. Governments have also decreased their financial contribution to institutions of higher learning over time because it was expected that institutions should be less financially dependent on the government for assistance (Lozano, 2006). Actions to achieve the missions must be taken on both the national and institutional level. To accomplish their missions, institutions of higher learning globally should transform. The most important role of the state in higher learning is to set a vision and a strategy. This can involve seeking answers to major questions as suggested by Fielden (2008). A change in the answers to these questions may require an organisational