EDEV_503 Week 8_5

As C mentioned, this Ed.D. focusses on the intersection of theory and praxis. You are currently living out this module in real-time and are, therefore, an ideal person to ask about issues in that intersection.

You cite Perellon’s (2007) recommendation that mechanisms of assessment match the needs and characteristics of the individual institution. There is an understanding that institutions need to emphasise their differences to appeal to the market. Yet concurrently, legitimacy issues present “competing pressures for sameness” (Bess & Dee, 2012, p. 141). Isomorphism refers to the tendency for “schools in one region of the country tend to act like schools in other regions” (Hanson, 2003, p. 283), and may be coercive or mimetic, that is homogenisation through force or through copying.

A few questions arise from the tension resulting from the pressure from conformity and the need for uniqueness. I’d like to ask you about just one: how members of your institution created, or didn’t, narratives of inclusion or exclusion, and themes of “us or them” (Bess & Dee, 2012, p. 618) during the accreditation process. Bormann (1982) developed the framework of symbolic convergence theory “to anticipate what will happen and to explain what has happened” (Bormann, 1982, p. 51). Bormann describes a number of themes, or narratives groups develop: themes of mastery, of achievement, of affiliation, of fantasy (Bess & Dee, 2012, p. 618).

How did tensions at UNAB play out? Did discussions occur regarding conformity versus uniqueness? Did various individuals conceptualise the process of accreditation in different ways? I’m interested in what predicts with your actual situation.


Bess, J. L., & Dee, J. R. (2012). Understanding college and university organization: Theories for effective policy and practice. Volume 1–The state of the system. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing.

Bormann, E. G. (1982). The symbolic convergence theory of communication: Applications and implications for teachers and consultants. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 10(1), 50–61.

Hanson, E. M. (2003). Educational administration and organizational behavior (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Perellon, J. (2007). Analysing quality assurance in higher education: Proposals for a conceptual framework and methodological implications. In D. F. Westerheijden, B. Stensaker, & M. João Rosa (Eds.), Quality Assurance in HE: Trends in regulation, translation and transformation (pp. 155–178). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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