Lost in translation: aligning strategies for research
In New Zealand, the funding of higher education research has been influenced by revised policy-driven imperatives. Amidst the institutional reactions to newer criteria for governmental funding, individual academics are being asked to increase their productivity in order for their employing institution to access public funding. For this to occur, these three essential stakeholders, namely the government, the institution and the individual academic, need to have a reasonable understanding of one another’s core research objectives, and reasonable alignment of the strategies they employ to achieve them. This alignment of effort is not without challenges, for inevitably ambiguity occurs when interactions are not effectively dovetailed and clearly communicated. In addition, individual academics may perceive a lack of support within an environment of increased pressure to perform. Ambivalence as one form of disengagement may result as staff resort to behaviours that contest institutional powers over their changing roles and responsibilities. We contend that in order to address these challenges, there needs to be further reflection on how the efforts of all parties can be better aligned and collaboratively integrated. While our point of reference for this paper is New Zealand, similar issues are evident in higher education institutions internationally and so strategies for overcoming them can be applicable across varied contexts.