Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-17, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 2 January, 2017 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2017.


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core definition

Collegialism in higher education is a process of governance that prioritises shared decision making among the (usually senior) academic community.

explanatory context

Harvey (1996, pp. 135–6) states:

Collegialism is a term meant to imply the institutionalisation of aspects of collegial practices and aspirations. Collegialism is characterised by three core elements: a process of shared decision-making by a collegial group in relation to academic matters...; mutual support in upholding the academic integrity of members of the group; conservation of a realm of special knowledge and practice Collegialism takes a variety of forms but can be characterised as a continuum with 'cloisterism' at one end and the 'new collegialism' at the other (Harvey, 1995a).

analytical review

Bellamy (2010) in analysisng academia suggests explores how collegialism relates to other organisational theory. She states that:

Within an organisational theory framework, universities have been conceptualised in many different ways, most notably in terms of functions and formal structures. Examples of better-known theoretical depictions include Weick's (1976) loose coupling and the well-known bureaucratic (Weber 1922; Dalin 1978) and collegiate models (Bergquist, 1992; Harvey, 1995)Åc.. The second analytical model used by organisational theorists to study universities is that of collegialism. [After invoking Harvey's characterisation above, she adds] .... Collegial governance can be viewed from two perspectives: traditional conservative and radical. The former is committed to the centrality of academic autonomy and a preservation of the ideals embodied in the definition of 'collegialism' presented above. The latter espouses the traditional notion of collegialism as an appropriate forum for academic decision-making but sees it also as isolationist, individualistic, defensive, wary of change, elitist, using implicit quality criteria and a mere information provider to students (Bergquist, 1992). Harvey (1995) terms the radical collegialist perspective 'new collegialism' and characterises it as involving networking, teamwork, responsiveness, innovation, empowerment, readiness to change, the facilitation of active learning by students and explicit quality criteria. The two forms of collegialism seem to represent points at either end of a continuum. However, while many universities exhibit some elements of the traditional conservative form and an increasing number are embracing the new-collegiate philosophy, it is questionable whether any institution lies at an extreme point. The traditional collegiate model which depicts the university as a community of scholars, for example, provides an understanding of the way in which academics are thought to share decision-making on academic matters, offer mutual support and preserve bodies of specialised knowledge and skills. But, as Harman (1989: p. 30) argues, to assume that universities work basically on value consensus is to be simplistic and miss the point?. While the collegiate ideal may have fairly represented the universities of long ago, the vast institutions of today may have rendered collegiality, at least in the traditional form, a myth and therefore the model as suspect for use in analysing universities.

associated issues

related areas

See also


new collegialism


Bellamy, S., 2010, Towards a Cultural Understanding of Academic Worlds, International Review of Business Research Papers, 6(5), Pp. 46-57, available at, accessed 20 September 2012, still available 31 December 2016.

Bergquist, W. H. 1992, The Four Cultures of the Academy: Insights and Strategies for Improving Leadership in Collegiate Organizations, San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.

Dalin, P. 1978, Limits to Educational Change. London: Macmillan.

Harman, K. M. 1989, 'Professional Versus Academic Values: Cultural Ambivalence in a University Professional School in Australia', HE, 18, pp. 491–509.

Harvey, L., 1995, ‘ Beyond TQM', Quality in Higher Education, 1(2), pp. 123–46, pdf available here.

Harvey, 1995a, 'The new collegialism: improvement with accountability', Tertiary Education and Management, 1(2), pp. 153–60, pdf available here.

Weber, M. 1922, Wirtschaft and Gesellschaft, translated as Economy and Society: an Outline of Interpretive Sociology, New York: Bedminster (1968, trans. by G. Roth and G. Wittich).

Weick, K. E. 1976, 'Educational Organizations as Loosely Coupled Systems', Administrative Science Quarterly, 21, (Mar), pp.1-19.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2017

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