Public Engagement in Chinese and UK Universities

Masterarbeit, 2017

78 Seiten



Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1 Purpose of the Master Dissertation
1.2 Motivation of the Topic
1.3 Important Findings
1.4 Structure of the Dissertation

2. Literature Review
2.1 Innovation
2.1.1 Definition of innovation
2.1.2 Why is it important?
2.2 Factors associated with successful innovation
2.2.1 Understanding user needs
2.2.2 Leadership
2.2.3 The role of innovation
2.2.4 Good Networking
2.3 Institutions Involved in Innovation
2.3.1 Companies
2.3.2 Government
2.3.3 Universities
2.4 Universities Main Activities – As the Locus of Innovation
2.4.1 Entrepreneurial University
2.4.2 Relationships between Universities and Industries
2.4.3 Conclusion

3. Conceptual Framework
3.1 Community and Public Engagement by University
3.1.1 Definition
3.1.2 Examples
3.1.3 Why?
3.2 Higher Education in China
3.2.1 Different types of universities in China
3.2.2 Different Activities by Chinese Universities
3.2.3 Extent of Chinese Universities in Public Engagement
3.3 Aspects of Community Engagement
3.3.1 Types of Goods Exchanged
3.3.2 Stakeholders

4. Methodology
4.1 Unit of Analysis
4.1.1 30 Top Universities in UK
4.1.2 30 Top Universities in China
4.2 Survey

5. Data Analysis
5.1 Top 5 Most Significant Similarities
5.1.1. Similarity 1
5.1.2. Similarity 2
5.1.3. Similarity 3
5.1.4. Similarity 4
5.1.5. Similarity 5
5.2. Top 5 Most Significant Differences
5.2.1. Difference 1
5.2.2. Difference 2
5.2.3. Difference 3
5.2.4. Difference 4
5.2.5. Difference 5

6. Discussion
6.1. Main Explanations for Similarities
6.1.1. Explanation 1
6.1.2. Explanation 2
6.2. Main Explanations for Differences
6.2.1. Explanation 1
6.2.2. Explanation 2

7. Conclusions
7.1. List of Conclusion
7.1.1. Conclusion 1
7.1.2. Conclusion 2
7.1.3. Conclusion 3
7.2. Implications
7.2.1. Implication 1
7.2.2. Implication 2
7.3. Limitations
7.3.1. Limitation 1
7.3.2. Limitation 2

Appendix 1: Questionnaire and Scores

Appendix 2: Data Findings

Appendix 3: Data Set Question

Links to the universities

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose of the Master Dissertation

Public engagement describes the manner in which university staff and students tend to interact with the public. It is a vital aspect of the university students and a highly beneficial program to the government. It is required that the concept of community and public engagement by universities be incorporated into the visions and strategies of the institutions. The aspect of public engagement explores new and improved platforms of communicating with the public through collaborative working, appreciation of the local knowledge, listening and identifying the different perspectives in the society. Universities in China engage in community and public interactions through cultural celebrations, public discussions, citizen experiments, life learning courses and community social and learning groups. They are among the best available platforms for creating two-way conversations between the society and the universities.

The paper seeks to analyze the changing role of the universities in the society through the public engagements. The paper does this by evaluating the manner in which the government provides sufficient funding and how the community anticipates a more open culture of the universities towards the public and the responsiveness to societal needs. It also helps engage in broader platforms with the public than before. Sharing of research allows people to gain benefits in learning and developing their lives. Moreover, the university’s staff can be in a position to improve the profiles of the universities, assist in the identification of new funding streams as well as strengthen the research funding for the universities. And finally, the research gives an insight into how public and community engagement by universities helps to open up new avenues for research.

1.2 Motivation of the Topic

The traditional conception of community and public engagement entailed the aspect of specific methods of research as well as teaching that involved external communities. It involved the collaborative activities that seemed to address the community's needs and opportunities. Public engagement can be described as the aspect of academic endeavors that utilize external sources of wisdom and expertise as the essential precepts of enhancing kknowledge and understanding. Initially, the concept was viewed as a shared enterprise that facilitated the exchange of expertise and knowledge that led to mutual benefits. The main precepts of interest were that learning and teaching produced knowledge outcomes that are considered as valuable assets for public interests and academic purposes.

Currently with the advancement in the technological and scientific fields community and public engagement has turned to entail broader concepts of participation and exchange of knowledge. Additionally, with the increase and the evolution in social activities, the current modes of engagement have turned to entail aspects of social responsibility, need for social awareness among other aspects. This brings along the concept of technological innovation that has led to the transformations in the means of public and community engagement. Some of the key advantages to note include the fact that technological innovation has enhanced community involvement through a series of advantageous traits. It has brought about easily observable features for engagement, highly compatible aspects that are consistent with the present values and current needs and finally strategies that are simple to understand.

The major setback that revolves around the community and public engagement is the fact that it is time consuming and in other instances too expensive. For the universities to ensure that this is held successfully, the organizations need to train their staff and build capacities that are resource intensive. In the situation where the public engagement is conducted poorly or ineffectively implemented then the public participation process may result in negative perceptions of the intended outcomes and thus discourage future participation processes. Poor outcomes of public participation could also negatively impact on the image and the reputation of the institutions affecting their enrollment objectives.

1.3 Important Findings

The first key finding is that, public engagement strengthens the communities since they gain broad benefits through means of productive interactions with the institutions and the universities. Through engagement, the students can realize that communities are not just mere labs for the universities and the institutions but rather, they are co-creators as well as the interpreters to knowledge via learning activities and collaborative research. Through these aspects the communities can be considered as the intellectual assets who are empowered to contribute towards knowledge generation that leads to the increase of the community’s capacity for problem solving. The development of active citizenry and enhancement of knowledge ensures that there is a greater attentiveness towards community responsibility for the common good.

The second major finding is that community and public engagement strengthens the universities. The schools mainly benefit from effective community engagement through enabling the students to identify the issues and the priorities within the community. The students can be in a position to create external partnerships effectively and improve diversity in their curricular so as to accommodate some of the requirements brought forth by community and societal needs and attributes

1.4 Structure of the Dissertation

The paper seeks to address the aspects of public and community engagement in Chinese universities through literature analysis. For effective analysis, the paper incorporates a parallel comparison with public universities in the United Kingdom and the manner in which they engage community and public. Through this comparison then the effectiveness of community engagement by universities can be determined.

The key definition is:

- Public engagement; this refers to the wide range of means of engaging citizens with the aim of disseminating, conducting and designing of research. This leads to varied societal as well as research benefits for public engagement through collaborative approaches, consultative and informative approaches.

The literature review adopts data from various sources that have been systematically selected with respect to the five key methods that include: Problem identification, appraisal of the studies, analysis of the data and summary of the results. It is important to ensure that the correct literature is identified so that the researcher can be in a position to synthesize the concepts and the ideas present and select the key arguments. Further, the researcher is in a position to identify those gaps in the literature selected. Through a targeted strategy, the researcher has identified various sources from online platforms such as the library catalogues, popular media, historical records and popular media sources. Samples of universities from USA and UK have been selected to enable a comparison with Chinese universities and their community and public engagement.

2. Literature Review

2.1 Innovation

2.1.1 Definition of innovation

Bell (2011 p. 110) defines innovation as the process of creating an idea or invention into a product or service that develops value that customers will be willing to pay. The idea produced must be subject to being affordable to the constraints of the capital of a company and should satisfy a particular need. Bell argues that for an idea or an invention to be termed as innovative it must incorporate the application of current data, imagination, and having the initiative in acquiring greater and differing values from the resources available. The aspect of innovation incorporates all the processes that enable the idea to be generated and be convertible into utility products. In relation to business, the aspect of innovation is achieved when the ideas are strategically applied by the organization so as to continue satisfying the necessities and expectations of the clients.

According to Bell, innovation is divided into two broad groups that is evolutionary innovation and revolutionary innovation. The evolutionary innovation refers to the dynamic and continuous development of innovations that are brought about by advancement in technology and processes. Revolutionary innovation is also acknowledged as discontinuous innovations which is new and can be disruptive. According to the journal of Leiponen (2010 p. 230) denotes that the aspect of innovation brings about changes in technology and often businesses are inclined to use the latest technology to gain competitive edge. In the business world, technological innovation can take many forms such as computerization and mechanization depending on the systems and processes.

2.1.2 Why is it important?

Leiponen discusses the benefits of innovation for all types of businesses. Innovation enables expansion of the global and domestic market. The aspect of innovation can enable even the small firms to gain competitive edge and compete globally. For example, the internet is a form of innovation that significantly helps the business owners to deliver their products and services potential clients around the globe by use of websites. In essence, the internet provides a platform for businesses to network and conduct transaction around the world. Therefore, it increases opportunities for businesses to expand and for small businesses to gain recognition.

Moreover, innovation plays a critical role in cutting business expenses. Leiponenstipulates that innovation can significantly minimize the costs incurred. For instance, by use of automation, the organizations signifying the number of employed workers and retain others who have additional knowledge in production processes. The costs cut in this case are such as salaries and compensation aspects. Leiponenadds that incorporation of technology facilitates in streamlining the processes of production as well as the elimination of unnecessary expenses. The developments brought about by innovations are enormous. For instance, China has significantly benefited from aspects of innovation and are globally acknowledges as the actors in the system of global innovation.

Reports show that innovation played a vital role in upgrading Asian economies particularly China and Korea. China largely participates in the development of global innovation especially in aspects relating to science. As such, innovation is potentially playing a role speeding up the change in technology and production of new products. This is facilitated by the increasing growth of stiff competition among companies that forces them to think beyond the box. Also, the emergence of new and strategic competitors brings about changes in technologies and business strategies. Innovation also leads to changing of the environment, shorter product lifespan and therefore raises the need to replace commodities. Due to too many market players in the same product category, it is becoming more and more difficult to differentiate products.

As a result of innovation, customers are increasing their product expectations thus becoming sophisticated, distinctively segmented and demanding. Therefore, companies have to be creative in customization of goods, production of new and quality products and incorporating affordable prices. The tastes and preference of customers is becoming unpredictable because of too many demands and expectations. Leiponen denotes that the existence and development of innovation aspects have led to the amalgamation of different technologies and markets are changing and forming and a fast rate. Therefore, as much as it brings about revolutionary and evolutionary of technology some of the business players find themselves unable to survive the market leave alone market entry. Innovation has enormously raised the bar for expectations, success, and attainment of goals, therefore increasing pressure to invent new and better products production processes and services at a fast rate.

2.2 Factors associated with successful innovation

Technological innovation

According to Aharonson, B.S., and Schilling (2016 p. 86), technological innovation is crucial to enabling a competitive success. Globally, companies depend on technological products that have been developed within the past five years for profit maximization. Technological innovation has raised a competitive bar for companies thus making the aspect of success a complicated matter for the firms. Eventually, the net effect of technological innovation on the community is positive because it gives room for a supply of wide range of products and services to the global society. Engaging in the community and public activities by universities in China can significantly bring about innovation and cause the change in their technology expansion. Students will be at a position of being exposed to aspects that enable then come up with innovative ideas.

Product innovation

Aharonson, B.S. and Schilling denote that product innovation refers to the outputs of a company; it may be in form of goods or services. Often, it is observed that universities in China engage their students in community and public engagement by equipping the students to find solutions to certain problems experienced by society. For example, if there is a need for a fast and safe vehicle, the students may be tasked to develop a new hybrid electric vehicle that satisfies those needs of the society. Product innovation, therefore, involves the production of new products that improve the people's way of living.

Process innovation

Process innovations are the creativity that is developed as a result of how an organization conducts its businesses. For instance, it involves the techniques used in production or marketing strategies for goods and services. This aspect is crucial for the community and public engagement by the Chinese Universities because they equip their students through practical exposure to process innovation. For instance, the students may be tasked with developing a genetic algorithm that can be used to search for a set of diseases that have related genes at a fast rate to discover the therapeutic intervention measures that should be applied. In essence, process innovation aspects are focused towards enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of production process (Aharonson, B.S. and Schilling 2016, p. 89).

2.2.1 Understanding user needs

The enabling of faster innovations have been made possible through the advancements in information technology that play a critical role in fastening the pace for innovations. Further, innovative designing and manufacturing of computers have enabled the information technologies advancements. The computers significantly ease and fasten the process used by companies to design and production of new commodities and services. Incorporation of manufacturing technologies that are flexible results in the use of economical production processes. For instance, the use of CAD/CAM technological systems facilitates rapid production of designs and shorter processing runs (Aharonson, B.S. and Schilling 2016 p. 96). Along with other manufacturing designs, CAD/CAM acts as an essential tool that can be used by the development teams to reduce cycle time enhance the quality of product, and control costs of development.

Advances and innovations of information technology have great effect on product and process innovation. Incorporation of these factors leads to introduction of new products at a rapid rate, shorter lifecycles of the product, and expand the market segment for the products. As such, the importance of technological innovations is at an increasing rate and is potentially driven by globalization of markets. Furthermore, these advancements have enabled the development of products and reduced production cycles. Therefore, the technological innovations exhibit significant effects on the community such as fostering an increase in GDP, facilitating greater and better communication systems and mobility, and enhances the medical treatments (Aharonson, B.S. and Schilling 2016, p. 82).

According to Wilkinson (1991), interactional approaches are centered on community field in community development approaches. He adds that community field is a term that directs ones attention to processes through which identities and actions emerge. These are the generalizing processes that tend to portray the common interests that exist between local regions and people. Wilkinson adds that these units of analysis tend to facilitate the understanding of those intersections existing between society and individuals as well as the environment and the society. Moreover, it is an important attribute to understand the various local scales that factor and process the collective actions in the community. According to his journal, there are dangers that exist with the perceptions that exist about the social processes and patterns at different levels of organization. Communities go through dynamic changes and therefore communities should be granted the utmost attention.

Wilkinson (1991) provided a highlight of the barriers that exist in interactions within the community. His concentration was mainly on the rural regions for which he argued that there existed a deficiency in resources. This implied that needs would not be sufficiently met as there were inadequate infrastructural services, channels and associations for mobilizing collective actions (p.9). He added that for these barriers to be removed or minimized there was need for expanding the spaces for interaction to a regional scale. He supported this since it presented the most logical platform for distribution, integration and facilitation of sharing the local social infrastructure to multiple spaces in the rural sectors. In this manner, incomplete individual communities would be made whole minimizing the rural disadvantages (p.24).

Wilkinson argues that community identity is a core driving force in the promotion of local actions as it creates a generalized bond. Through shared identity, actions may be catalyzed and refueled in addressing these issues. He argues that the interactional capacity acts as a key to mobilizing some specific actions in the community development. He argues that regional fields may be conceptualized as one that exceeds the local boundaries while reflecting the nature by which resources are distributed and interpersonal interactions boosted. Finally, he adds that regional fields develop interactions that enable generalized goals at a regional scale.

According to Claude, Bridger, and Luloff, (2000) journal argues the capability of the youth in shaping the civil society by interacting with other people and creating social networks. This capacity and capability of the youth to socially engage them and accrue benefits that are beyond personal growth is manifested at society level. The scholars argue that the ability of university institutions to incorporate school activities that engage student in community work significantly enables them to develop strong interaction skills and quality public engagements. By enabling the youths to actively engage in community activities it directly shapes the growth and functions of the entire local society.

Often, when youth interact with one another they develop common interests based on substantive foundations. These social relationships enable the growth of focused actions that result to a collective capacity which builds the aspects of a community. The process of creating a community occurs in diverse sections that involve interaction of the youth, realizing their common interests, and working cooperatively to satisfy these needs. Therefore, Claude, Bridger, and Luloff, denotes that interaction is a natural instinct for the youth and it is a constant characteristic of a life of community that gives significance to its ecological system, cultural foundations, and builds the social psychological and structural aspects. These types of interactions play a significant role in showing a sense of direction towards collective action and give the individuals an element of common identity, sense of connectedness, and attachment to others.

Furthermore, Claude, Bridger, and Luloff denote that creation of social ties and social networks are significant to fostering and maintaining civic engagement. These relations are integral aspects of individual’s sense of community that are directly connected to the attachments and substantially influence the ability of the youths to perform deeds on behalf of society. As such, universities play a critical role in shaping these communities through enabling the youth to engage in civic activities. For instance, communities are founded under different forms such as strong and weak, casual interaction, formal and informal, and via organizational engagement. Thus these forms determine the conditions embedded within the civic engagement of the youth and the development of the community. Strong ties are considered to be the relations among families and friends that are intense and developed over a long period of connection. For the youth, strong ties is considered as the beginning of their primary civic engagement However, this aspect may not be noticed by many youths because they are supporting their parents and siblings or in their neighborhoods.

Kaufman (2014) examines the historical development of Human Resource Management (HRM) in America since the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century. HRM is defined as a strategic approach that involves the incorporation of people and management of the employees in the organization. In order to understand the concept behind HRM, Kaufman looks back into the beginning of human civilization when the Chinese emperors and the Egyptian pharaohs ordered that most of their laborers to building of the Great Wall and the Great Pyramid respectively. The scholar is faced with a wide range of choices and was tempted to avoid arbitrary distinctions.

As a result the journal formulates a comprehensive definition of HRM that entails management of individuals in companies for economic production of commodities and services. As such, the scholar argues that the modern HRM emerged in 1890s as a result of industrial relations. Before the 1890s the business owners and the line executives among other responsibilities regarded the HRM as one of the ways of handling business that was overseen. As small businesses developed into large-scale businesses there began to emerge problems with the management of employees and some firms began to encounter huge losses thus causing to empower some of the employees to handle certain responsibilities of labor management. By mid 1890s, some of the organizations were observed to establish welfare offices that were managed by welfare secretaries to manage and control certain safety and welfare aspects such as wash-up rooms, lunch halls, and recreation programs.

After a decade, some of the pioneering organizations began safety governmental programs that was managed and controlled by the director win charge of overseeing the worker committees. These actions led to creation of HRM department and a HRM manager who dealt with all matters that involve all aspects of employees. Later on, training programs emerged to equip workers on how to render quality of services as well as safety and welfare measures that should be incorporated enable the employees. The employment management department amalgamated the HRM functions such as; hiring, training, staffing, service, and welfare to be able to control the employees appropriately. In essence, Kaufman brings to light the historical evolution of human resource management and the reasons as to why it exists. The HRM evolved with the growth of industrial relation through understanding that management and control of employees is a critical factor in an organization. Kaufman also shows that HRM significantly contributes to the growth and profitability of a firm.

2.2.2 Leadership


According to Edison (2012 p. 20) journal leadership is a technique used by leaders to combine different leadership styles to influence change by motivating workers to develop creative ideas, services, and commodities. It is an approach used to enable the development of a company by supporting the accomplishments of the mission or visions of the firm. With the rapid emergence and establishment of new technologies and production processes, it is prudent for the firms to think creatively and innovatively to promote a continuous success and gain competitive edge. Today’s era is made up by globalization aspects that require for companies to adapt to the new changes. Therefore, incorporation of effective and innovative leadership give the company the drive to progress at a fast mode.

Edison adds that currently, the role of leaders in an organization is measured by the urgent need to bring about innovative ideas and strategies so as to facilitate designing the nature and success of creative efforts. Therefore, without the input on an innovative leadership the firms are at a high risk of facing technological challenges and may lose the competitive edge. The universities in China should emphasize on innovation aspect when tutoring students and exposing them to community and public engagement. The aspect of innovation is therefore referred to as a major shift from the 20th century that did not utilize innovative behavior to 21st century that high values innovative thinking as a potential influence to the performance of the company.

Characteristics of innovation leaders

Zenger and Folkman (2014) illustrates that innovative leaders are excellent in displaying strategic visions. This enables the leader to be creative and innovative to gain competitive edge and achieve future goals of the firm. In doing so, they have strongly concentrate on the needs of the customers through providing solutions to challenges that they are facing in their lives. Innovative leaders tend to think like customers and spend a lot of time networking with their clients and enquire about their needs and wants. Innovation leaders emphasize on speed and motivate their subordinates through actions.

Zenger, J. and Folkman states that innovation leaders prefer to carry out the latest technology that is cost effective, fast and goal oriented because they want to lead in each major development or production of a new product. Therefore, they inspire the workers through action by showing the purpose and meaning of their responsibilities. Innovative leaders often love to associate with creative, inventive, and progressive workers. They always look out for solutions thus they motivate their employees to think outside the box in each of their organizational challenges.

2.2.3 The role of innovation

Drucker (2014) that there are seven sources of innovation that comprises the roles of companies, individuals, government facilities, and the networks. The unexpected is one of the sources that requires the manager to search for opportunities in the marketplace. This involves studying the market at a regular basis and understanding the different concepts of product or service production in relation to the goal of satisfying customers’ needs. Another source of innovation is incongruity that refers to the role of the organization in studying their customers and identifying their unsatisfied wants and complaints. For instance the development and establishment of Facebook platform is an example of a company that used incongruity to be successful. They achieved this through analyzing the difference between what is disposable to the customer and what should be at disposal for customers. Incongruity factor for innovation is the ability of the organization to think beyond what the customers wants and give them what they need.

As such, Drucker illustrates that process need is a source for innovation as it involves the ability of the manager to identify the firm’s weaknesses and addressing them or redesigning their strategies. Proceed need is focused on finding solutions meaning that the innovation factor is retrieved from the manager’s or employee’s capabilities and strategies used to conduct daily operations. The changes in the market structure, demographics and industry are a source of innovation depicted from the ability of the organization to accrue opportunities from the change. Particularly, the organizations should be keen on changes in industrial regulations, and changes in technologies. Changes in demographics refer to population change, changes of age group varying of income levels, and labor. Smart companies usually pay attention to these factors for instance, baby boomers era the businesses should focus on them because they significantly influence demographic groups and business trends.

Soléeet al. (2013 p. 25)focuses on developing the analytical framework for the different patterns of technological evolution. The scholar identifies that there are various specific patterns of technological evolution that includes invention, innovation, and diffusion. Solée et al. believes that the development of technology follows a certain evolutionary pattern. The scholar adds that occurrence of temporal evolution of any technological system which is associated with a group of random changes is featured as prolonged oscillations. Thus, the emergence of repeated fluctuations in evolution of innovation and technology is expected. Worlton (2011) supports these findings by investigating the current evolution of computing in high-performance. The scholar discovered the same patterns of technological change occur in four stages that include invention, innovation, diffusion, and changes of scale. The scholars used the ecosystem model and the concepts of influence to demonstrate and come up with the conclusion that pattern of technological evolutionary and innovation cycles.

Suaréz, and Utterback (2015 p. 440) define dominant design as a specification that consist of a feature that is singularly designed or features that are complement of designs. The dominant design is responsible for defining the architectural category of product. The time of the emergence of dominant design is measured by the time between the launching of the first product in the category and the time an alternative product is developed in the category. Factors that determine whether the industry experiences pressure in selecting a dominant design are such as appropriateness of the product. This means considering the elements of the product category that enable the ability of the organization to capture innovation factors in the product category.

Thomä et al (2013 p. 40) found that industries should consider six factors when they want to achieve appropriateness of a product. They include establishment of patent to prevent duplication, incorporation of patent to safeguard royalty salary, maintaining the secrecy of the new product, lead time for its development, efficiency of the learning curve and innovative sales and service strategic efforts. The effects of network are another factor determining the pressure experienced by industries. As such, Gawer (2014 p. 1245) denote that the influences of a positive network arise when a client’s utility from a product is increased and this cause the number of product users to increase. When the product utility to customers relies on the number of customers, it means that the product shows direct effects of network.


Ende der Leseprobe aus 78 Seiten


Public Engagement in Chinese and UK Universities
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Anonym, 2017, Public Engagement in Chinese and UK Universities, München, GRIN Verlag,


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