Fostering an institutional research culture: A case study from the OUM Business School

Mohamad, W, Zakariah, Z, Afzhan Khan, M and Ruslan, R
Open University Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia's quest for achieving the status of a developed nation and increasing competition in the workforce have spurred working adults to enrol in higher education institutions. Due to work and time constraints, most of them have opted for open and distance learning where they can engage in their studies while continuing to work. The Open University Malaysia, as the leading ODL institution in the country, strives to fulfil its learners' expectations, while at the same time trying to forge ahead within limitations in terms of the workforce, technological changes and increased competition faced by most ODL institutions. Bearing these limitations in mind and realizing that its future sustainability lies in its core competencies, the OUM's Business School (OUMBS) has undertaken a very substantial move to build these competencies as part of its institutional capability. Generally, institutional capability is often taken for granted, especially in universities where the faculty members already hold masters or PhD degrees. However, with increased competition among universities, developing institutional capability becomes not only important but essential and integral to achieving competitive advantage. In this context, OUMBS has embarked on a journey towards building staff competencies in a structured but enjoyable way, the objective of which is to foster continuous improvement among all levels of staff. This paper gives an overview of the OUM Business School's strategies to foster an institutional research culture among its team members, outlining the objectives of this endeavour, the strategies planned and the results obtained after six months of implementation. It is envisioned that the initial success achieved will grow greatly in the future, resulting in improved research performance among the academic staff; increased knowledge and continuous learning among the support staff; and enhanced learning among students as a result of improved institutional capability in the university itself.