The Quality Movement discourse in the higher education
sector - A general review
This paper – the first of a series of three – describes
some of the macro milestones in the evolution of the Quality Movement
in the industrial environment. The emphasis then shifts to reviewing
the discourse relating to quality in the higher education sector
in the UK. Attention is given to Quality Assessment, Quality Assurance
and Quality Enhancement models. The interface or tension lines between
quality as a controlling mechanism or as a tool for development
are outlined. Predominant concerns and issues as expressed by academics
are clustered into macro questions, the answers to which will require
further longitudinal research.
Purpose of the study
The broad purpose of the study is to present the notion of quality
as a tool in the higher education sector to the undergraduate ( or postgraduate student, researchers, practitioners
or those new to this concept. To facilitate this I include an accessible
general review of relevant literature from the field. The questions
raised could be of use for further detailed research by postgraduate
students and researchers. Ideally these questions could contribute
to the social dynamic of face to face discourse between academics,
other parties in the staff rooms, classrooms, policy rooms and so
This paper offers a general review of research and literature from
the fields of business, management, education and the social sciences
that relate to quality. An interpretive research approach is utilised,
descriptions are provided, and meaning and assumptions are constructed.
I perceive this method as a subjective social engagement with the
‘footprints’ () evident in printed and electronic media.
The paper endeavours to describe a historical macro economic context
of the evolution of quality as a movement and then detail micro
academic discourse relating to quality in higher education sector.
Keywords: Quality movement, Quality
Assessment, Quality Assurance, Quality Enhancement, Higher Education