Enhancing the engagement of higher education academics in knowledge transfer through a rewards and incentives scheme using an action research approach

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Beaumont, Richard Alun

This research project considers approaches to enhancing the engagement of academics with Knowledge Transfer in UK Higher Education. The research, undertaken within the Health and Education School of Middlesex University, utilised an innovative approach through the application of an Action Research (AR) framework in supporting personal and organisational development. Through insider-researcher led AR Cycles, knowledge and theory was developed co-productively, leading to the development, implementation and embedding of a Rewards and Incentives Scheme (R&IS) to enhance academics’ engagement with KT. The research involved the use of on-line surveys, in-depth interviews and Action Research Groups to engage academics as participants in the process.\ud Original contribution to the field is demonstrated through outcomes of the application of a highly reflexive AR framework, including higher level reflection at each stage of several AR Cycles, culminating in the expression of theory and thinking at a meta-level of learning. AR offered an innovative approach to engaging academics in KT through shaping and implementing policy as part of participatory approaches, culminating in the R&IS. The thesis itself adopts an innovative structure to reflect the AR framework utilised.\ud Within the limitations of generalisability of an AR approach, the research findings are of value in a wider context, suggesting that:\ud • The motivation to engage in KT involves a complex mixture of intrinsic and extrinsic factors, but in this particular study it was largely influenced by intrinsic factors such as having a positive impact in society\ud • Academics in the health and education sectors may not respond positively to commercial-style descriptors of KT and econometric measures alone would not be a true reflection of KT activity levels\ud • AR can be an effective approach to support management-led interventions and change management around a specific objective\ud • Rewards and incentives could play an effective part in management initiatives to engage academics in KT.
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