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How and why collaborative and learning behaviours influence strategic organisational innovation : a mixed methods study in the UK tertiary education sector.

Carter, James E. (2018) How and why collaborative and learning behaviours influence strategic organisational innovation : a mixed methods study in the UK tertiary education sector. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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The primary research question explores the influence of collaboration on strategic organisational innovation. At the organisational level, innovation is seen as crucial for successful performance and to being able to adapt to changing circumstances: and with the rise of globalisation and the information society, collaboration is seen as one of the major catalysts for achieving innovation. Existing evidence shows a positive relationship between collaboration and innovation, but is almost entirely quantitative, with weak measures, and rarely focuses on the public sector. The secondary research question explores alternative theories for why innovation decisions are made – organisational learning versus institutional conforming. The context for this thesis is the UK tertiary education sector. This thesis adopts a mixed methods approach. The quantitative research aims to be uniquely robust, with multi-item operationalisation of collaboration and innovation. The qualitative research adopts a specially developed innovation journey framework, which enables underlying processes and decisions to be investigated. The survey questionnaire was sent to 133 universities and 300 FE colleges with a demographically representative 36.5% response rate. Three universities and two FE colleges participated in the case study, with four senior managers being interviewed in each institution. 31 strategic innovations were studied in depth. Both the quantitative survey and qualitative case study confirm a strong relationship between collaboration and innovation. In addition, this thesis includes in-depth analyses of the nature of collaboration and innovation, including the organisational impact and contribution to corporate objectives of emergent innovation types and the functional mechanisms and output contributions of emergent collaborator types. There is practical advice to government policy makers and to senior managers in the sector - differentiating between eclectic collaboration aimed at identifying opportunities and purposive collaboration aimed at working with key players to enact new strategies and optimise operational performance. Complementing the above research, this thesis uniquely compares two prominent schools of thought – organisational learning and institutional theory – and provides a detailed explanation as to why the former was found to be far more pre-dominant as a basis for individual innovation decisions, although most innovations belong in some sense to generic sector norms.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Carter, James E.
Date : 31 May 2018
Funders : self funding
Contributors :
ContributionNameEmailORCID, Jane
Depositing User : James Carter
Date Deposited : 31 May 2018 07:17
Last Modified : 31 May 2018 07:17

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