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Wearing, DP 2013, 'Inter-institutional collaboration in the New Zealand tertiary education sector', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright DP Wearing 2013


The researcher undertook this investigation of inter-institutional collaboration in the New Zealand tertiary education sector to identify common aspects of management activity that could form the basis of best practice guidelines for adoption by sector leadership.

A qualitative approach was undertaken, set within a social constructivist paradigm, with grounded theory utilised as the basis for the theoretical framework and research methodology. A literature review was conducted prior to data collection and updated following the preparation of the first draft thesis.

Data was collected via semi-structured open interviews with 17 tertiary education sector leaders. The population sample total was 28 vice-chancellors and chief executives. In-depth interviews were conducted providing a rich and deep information base. The researcher recognises that the generalisability of the associated findings is potentially somewhat limited.

From the iterative data collection and analysis processes, shared benefit and strong relationships emerged as the most significant basis for tertiary education institutions to consider collaborating. These factors were considered to be more important than other perceived enablers such as geographical proximity or similarity in institution type or size. The study also identified that collaboration is generally considered to be a positive activity, however it is challenging and resource-intensive to initiate and implement. Research participants suggested that there is no one generic model that can guarantee collaborative success, however there are a number of factors leaders can consider at the preparatory phase to maximise the effectiveness of the planned activity.

The research has provided a basis to create best practice managerial guidelines for adoption by New Zealand tertiary education sector institution leaders to assist their institutions when undertaking collaborative activity. There is possible generic application for adoption by other sectors and to tertiary education institutions in other countries; these are both areas for possible further research.