Competition in UK Higher Education: Applying Porter's diamond model to geography departments
Studies in Higher Education, 26, (2), .
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In a linked paper (Curran, 2000) Porter's diamond model of competitive advantage was proposed as a framework with which to evaluate the research performance of departments in UK higher education institutions. This article discusses the application of this model to an initial dataset of thirty-six departmental and institutional variables (later reduced to eight) for sixty-eight departments of geography. Approximately two-thirds of the variability in the results of the 1996 research assessment exercise (RAE) was accounted for using quantitative measures, leaving approximately one-third of the variability accounted for by the judgement of the RAE panel. These quantitative and qualitative measures were used to locate departments of geography along a spectrum of development from factor-driven (similar performance to that of institution as only factor conditions in place) to investment-driven (heavy investment leading to an upgrade of factor conditions, demand conditions and departmental strategy, structure and rivalry) to innovation-driven (four corners of diamond in place leading to continuous innovation/upgrading) and finally wealth-driven (seeking advantage through accumulated wealth leading to gradual decline). The most research successful departments were those in the innovation-driven stage. UK geography was seen to have a large proportion of its departments in the investment-driven stage with several in, or moving into, the innovation-driven stage. This bodes well for the future vitality of the discipline.
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