Facilitating the development of a shared purpose in a university department: the first stage towards developing a culture of shared governance

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Background and contextThe structure of higher education departments tend to be hierarchical and we were no exception. However, changes in the way nursing education was provided, internal growth and development followed by a period of austerity, presented our school with an unprecedented opportunity. We found ourselves in a position where we had an opportunity to change. AimsThe aim of the paper is to share our reflections on the process and outcomes from a culture change project in a university department so far. The purpose of this part of the project was to enable creative and collegial opportunities to work together. Conclusions An inclusive culture can make a difference to peoples’ lives and reflect the underpinning principles of person centred practice. This project has enabled us to define our shared purpose, clarify our values, make commitments and set standards. Overall, though it has allowed us to see each other as people emerged from behind a faceless organisational structure.Implications for practice The values of Inclusiveness, Integrity and Professionalism are important for a shared understanding and effective collaborative functioning within university departmentsStaff teams can be structured around professional and personal development needsManagerial support, staff participation and an experienced facilitator is vital for successful cultural change. Despite being UK based, we believe these experiences to be transferable across jurisdictions and of interest to international readers.Six Keywords/PhrasesCulture change, nursing, higher education, shared decision-making, values, shared governance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Practice Development Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 16 Nov 2016


  • Culture change
  • nursing
  • higher education
  • shared decision-making
  • values
  • shared governance.


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