Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


Institute of Technology Tralee

First Advisor

Dr. Deirdre Lillis


If Higher Education Institutions are to fulfill their potential and serve the needs of all their stakeholders, then their institutional management capacity must be effective and responsive to changes in the environment. Strategic planning and quality assurance are an integral part of the management of modem higher education institutions worldwide. This study is based on two research questions. Research Question One examines the experiences of strategic planning of twenty higher education institutions in Ireland over a ten year period from 2000 to 2010. The second research question examines how strategic planning has been integrated with quality assurance processes which are a dominant force in higher education management. The most appropriate elements of a positivist and phenomenological research philosophy were combined to design a mixed method approach of philosophical research for this study. Qualitative research methods were used primarily, including extensive document analysis of strategic plans and institutional review reports, triangulated with interviews with Presidents, institutional Heads of Strategic Planning and/or members of the senior management team with responsibility for strategic planning (n=20). The growing expertise and confidence of HEIs with strategic planning and quality assurance matters over the ten year period is evident, however the findings raise fundamental questions in relation to the approach to strategy development in higher education.

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