Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore conceptually the role of higher education consortia in facilitating the operational advancement of member institutions, and in enabling their development as learning organizations in a changing and competitive higher education environment. Design/methodology/approach – This article synthesizes the literature on higher education consortia and organizational learning and develops propositions to support future inquiry. Findings – While some institutions of higher education do indeed learn, the power that consortia hold to extend, expand, and exploit this learning may represent a vast, untapped resource. Through a better understanding of the role that consortium participation may play in organizational learning, a roadmap may be generated for higher education institutions to achieve the cultural and strategic shifts necessary to develop new directions for the delivery of educational content. This enhanced understanding also may help sustain the culture of, and innovative practices used by, learning organizations. Research limitations/implications – Consortia have the potential to offer a wide variety of benefits to institutions of higher education through innovative structure, operations, and delivery methods, generating tremendous potential for institutions of higher education to become more effective learning organizations. Originality/value – As institutions of higher learning continue to form collaborative partnerships through higher education consortia, interesting questions arise about the potential unexplored value of these institutional networks. This article suggests that the interplay of diverse practices and sharing of related organizational knowledge across institutions may provide an opportunity for learning and adaptation within them.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 23, 2012
Keywords: Higher education consortia; Knowledge sharing; Organizational learning; Learning organizations; Organizational culture