Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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What factors influence engagement with academic audit and implementation of audit recommendations?

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posted on 2023-03-26, 01:59 authored by Martin Boswell

This thesis presents the results of a case study of academic audit as enacted at a typical New Zealand university between 1994 and 2019. Academic audit is a quality assurance methodology that drew originally from financial auditing and was adopted first in the United Kingdom, then in New Zealand and other jurisdictions in the early 1990s. New Zealand is unusual in having continued with academic audit without interruption and affords a unique research subject. Like the other New Zealand universities, the case study institution has undergone five audit cycles. If quality assurance is to demonstrably improve institutional activities, recommendations made by academic audit need to be implemented. At the case study institution, the phenomenon of recurrent recommendations was detected and three sets of complex recurrent recommendations were inspected in detail in an attempt to understand engagement by the university and by the quality agency with academic audit over time. The five Blanco-Ramírez and Berger (2014) quality dimensions were used as an analytical device to interpret the three focus areas: closing the student feedback loop; the monitoring of PhD students’ progress and how feedback from PhD students should be sought; and the ‘quality assurance infrastructure’ and leadership of quality at the university. Among the conclusions of the study were that the collegial dimension of quality is not necessarily benign; that a longitudinal dimension of quality provides a useful additional perspective; that dysfunction exists on the part of both auditor and auditee; and that engagement with audit recommendations was more likely in the context of other systemic factors. The thesis concludes with suggestions for the agency and the case-study institution.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

280109 Expanding knowledge in education

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Education


Marshall, Stephen; Thornton, Kate