Assessment of the Competitive Advantage Generated by Research of German Universities
: an adaptation of Porter’s diamond and Four stages of competitive development models for use in higher education

  • Arthur Eger

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    University performance assessment emerged as an active and growing field of research alongside the emergence of neoliberalism in the public sector in the 1980s. With increased interest in evaluation methodologies and their application two knowledge gaps emerged: (1) the absence of a universal method to assess the performance of universities; (2) a lack of knowledge and expertise to perform these evaluations.

    The direction of the present research in pursuance of closing the identified knowledge gaps was determined to a great degree by the consideration that when universities are predominantly viewed as corporate enterprises, an investigation into the assessment of the performance of universities should explore and exploit the lessons to be learned from the corporate sector. Here, the review of the literature hinted at using Porter’s seminal diamond model as a generic approach to assess the competitive strength of higher education institutes.

    The contribution to methods in the present research includes the identification of the key attributes of each corner of the diamond and their relative importance in the determination of the competitive condition of the diamond for the assessed universities. In addition, there is an adaptation of Porter’s Four stages of competitive development model and thematic maps providing illuminating insights into the process of creating and upgrading competitiveness in research.
    The contribution to professional practice in this thesis is that its findings help university decision makers frame the numerous determinants of research performance into a coherent pattern so providing them with a succinct overview of the competitive condition of the university and simultaneously avoiding an information overflow.

    The discoveries in the present research will enable university decision makers to understand the cause-and-effect relationships between the determinants and performance better and will give direction to strategy development.
    Date of AwardMay 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorKaren Fitzgibbon (Supervisor), Martin Rhisiart (Supervisor) & Rami Djebarni (Supervisor)

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