Invisible practices; innovative outcomes: intrapreneurship within the academy

Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Action Learning: research and practice, 2015, 12 (2), pp. 1 - 17 (17)
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Across the world, higher education is facing new challenges as governments cut subsidies, new technologies enable ‘massively open’ online courses, students are accessed from global locations, and the centuries-old mission of universities is commercialised. In spite of these profound changes, most institutions of higher education have remained unaltered in terms of how they are structured and governed. Similarly, the consequent commodification of knowledge has not been challenged in general even though the lack of the deep knowledge that underpins competent professional practice is periodically lamented. This paper outlines an experiment in an alternative form of academic programme management; one which is perhaps more appropriate in current times. It describes an initiative at an Australian university where an action-research approach is being used to engage the full spectrum of stakeholders in the governance and execution of the strategic intent of a particular ‘flagship’ postgraduate programme. In this way, it demonstrates how knowing (knowledge manifesting in practice) is achieved through a form of praxis that continuously refines, through interactive ‘creatively abrasive’ forums, the enactment of mission-pertinent practices. However, as an initiative that threatens the political status quo within the university, much of the action, until recently, has had to be conducted ‘invisibly’.
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