Using results to drive improvement
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Using Results to Drive Improvement:. Strategy for Quality and Effectiveness. What does using results to drive improvement mean?. Apply your learning and make improvements. Decide what you are going to achieve. LEARNING. LEADERSHIP. Document your policy, procedures and performance standards.

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Using Results to Drive Improvement:

Strategy for Quality and Effectiveness

What does using results to drive improvement mean?

Apply your learning and make improvements

Decide what you are going to achieve



Document your policy, procedures and performance standards

Analyse cause and effect relationships







Do what you decided to do to achieve what you want to achieve

Find out whether you achieved it

Structural and cultural dimensions



Shared vision of organisational

quality and effectiveness

Capacity for managing organisational effectiveness –i.e. knowledge, skills, experience, innovation

Structures and systems and standards for assuring quality and generating results information

Culture of participation,

communication and trust

  • Results, including stakeholder feedback are used for decision making

Learning organisation focussed on improvement

Potential benefits of quality management

  • Increased responsive to a changing environment

  • Increased orientation to what stakeholders need

  • Increased coherence between parts of the system

  • Finding ways of increasing quality while reducing costs

Unfulfilled promises of quality management in Higher Education

  • ‘a euphemism for control by funding bodies’

  • Loss of motivation to improve

  • Playing ‘rules of the game’

  • QM is seen as ‘industrial’ or ‘corporate’ and essentially inappropriate to teaching and learning

  • Lack of support from academics

  • Deterioration into an inflexible compliance-driven bureaucracy

  • Excessive administrative workload

  • Rigorous defence of academic freedom limits any ‘outside’ influence

Research performance

Relevant and High Quality Programmes

Student Experience

Access and Participation

University of Botswana

Balanced Scorecards

Human Resources


Structures for using results to drive improvement: 1

Structures for using results to drive improvement: 2

Structures for using results to drive improvement: 3



‘the ends’




  • ‘the means’

  • Inputs & processes


Reporting outcomes

Disseminating planning, policy and process




UB Quality Board

Faculty/Division Quality Assurance Groups

Department Quality Assurance Groups

Structures for using results to drive improvement:4

Organisational Learning

  • Quality improvement is about solving quality problems and accelerating change

  • Organisational learning is about changing the way people think about quality issues and releasing the brakes so that change can happen.

  • Leveraging change by working on the restraining forces / limiting factors that resist the change, as well as working directly on accelerating the driving forces of change.

What are the limiting factors?

  • Assumptions about how things work

  • How we define the situation

  • Lack of fact-based information

  • Lack of transparency

  • Silo mentality

  • Reductionist view of the organization

“without the pull towards some goal which people truly want to achieve the forces in support of the status quo can be overwhelming” Senge

Clear picture of current reality

Shared vision of preferred future

Creative tension provides motivation and momentum

What limits our picture of current reality?:

What limits our vision of a new future?:

  • Assumptions about how things work

  • How we define the situation

  • Inward looking attitudes

  • Weak leadership

  • Silo mentality

  • Conservatism

  • Cynicism and jaded disillusion

  • Reductionist view of the organization

Culture that supports quality management

  • Shared vision of what we want the University to achieve

  • Transparency and openness to discussing things that are not working well.

  • Future orientation and commitment to continuous improvement

  • Willingness to challenge the status quo and cultural norms and old ‘truths’

  • Willingness to see the University as a whole system and acceptance of the need to cut across traditional boundaries

Planning for change:1

Planning for change: 2

So what does closing the quality loop really mean?

The quality loop is closed when information about current reality is used to inform future improvements. It includes:

  • Collecting and analysing internal (results/feedback) data and external (benchmarks/trends) information

  • Presenting it convincingly enough to precipitate decision making and buy in

  • Empowering the right team to lead the change

  • Involving as many people as possible and removing barriers

  • Monitoring the outcomes and making sure the process doesn’t lose momentum

  • Publicizing successes and improvements

  • ‘Normalising’ new ways of doing things

What is the role of Institutional Research 1?

  • It can be used to create a sense of urgency.

  • The first step is consciousness that there are problems to be addressed. Presentations need to address both thinking and feeling

  • It can be used to convince people of the appropriateness of the solution

  • It shows cause and effect relationships, and project trends. Unless people are convinced that the proposed changes will really address the problems then they are more likely to favour the status quo and resist the changes.

What is the role of Institutional Research 2?

  • It contributes to the achievement of quality standards and effectiveness measures.

  • Analysing and evaluating what you have achieved and understanding the implications is key to closing the quality loop and orienting the University to quality improvement in key strategic areas.

  • It informs policy analysis and decision making.

  • Institutional research has an influential role to play in ensuring that management decision making is well informed and fact-based.

  • It provides information for benchmarking. Benchmarking is important becauseit challenges insularity and complacency


The challenges of closing the quality loop at UB include:

  • Technical issues, like the quality of data

  • Structural issues, like systems and infrastructure for information flow

  • Cultural issues, like the development of readiness for change.

    The greatest challenge is cultural change.

    Institutional Research can influence cultural change if it can find compelling ways of using data to tell a story that cannot be ignored.

    Thank you!

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