|Abstract (english)|| |
The findings that have been made in this dissertation are based on the integrative approach of content-oriented and technology-oriented information management as a basis for understanding the importance of information management in the function of quality assurance in higher education institutions (HEIs). The dissertation proceeds from the assumption that the evaluation of the quality of HEI's work and achievements of the goals, in accordance with the ESG standards and guidelines, is possible only if the HEI's management has relevant information about their own activities, needs and satisfaction of all stakeholders, and the opportunities and threats from the environment. Effective information management is important for the organizational efficiency, competitiveness and success of HEIs whose full potential can only be achieved through the joint activity of information technology, people and information. The purpose of the research was to highlight the importance and the need to establish effective information management in the context of responding to the challenges and demands of a dynamic environment, as well as in the context of the role that information management plays in establishing and developing a successful quality assurance system, which is also a strategic goal of HEIs. The paper presents a comprehensive overview of defining the concept of information as well as the differences between the terms data, information, and knowledge. The basic characteristics and types of information are considered, information management is considered from an organizational point of view, and the organizational characteristics and features of information management at HEIs are emphasized in the context of the number of stakeholders and the specificity and complexity of their environment, as well as information management at HEIs in the function of quality assurance in accordance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. The objectives of this study were to determine the ways of managing information at HEIs in the Republic of Croatia, investigate the attitudes of their management regarding the importance of information management, and to analyse the extent to which the information management affects the quality assurance. For this purpose, a quantitative research using a survey method at 38 higher education institutions in the Republic of Croatia was conducted, as well as the content analysis of the published final reports of external audits of the quality assurance systems conducted in the period from 2010 to 2015. A survey research was conducted on a sample of higher education institutions in the Republic of Croatia to collect data on the self-assessment and perceptions of respondents, that is,heads of higher education institutions on information management and quality assurance system at higher education institutions. Heads of HEIs were selected for the basic set of respondents as persons who make decisions of strategic importance, and issues related to information management and quality assurance are certainly strategic issues. Heads of HEIs are responsible for the success of the organization, as well as for establishing and implementing integrative information management, i.e. developing and establishing information infrastructure for gathering, organizing and sharing information, providing information in accordance with stakeholder information needs, and creating an atmosphere in which information is unselfishly shared. Within the framework of theoretical knowledge and empirical research, the set aims were realized, and the hypotheses of the study were confirmed, and the obtained results contributed to the consideration of the ways and importance of information management and quality assurance systems from the perspective of the leaders of higher education institutions. From the results obtained by content analysis and the survey method, it can be concluded that at HEIs in the Republic of Croatia there are information systems for collecting various information from internal and external environment, which HEIs seek to make available to all stakeholders, and mainly use for strategic decision making and improvement of the quality assurance system, and there is also an awareness of the importance of establishing information systems that will enable the collection of all relevant information from the internal and external environment, encouragement of free circulation of information in all directions, collection of feedback, and encouragement of free sharing and exchange of information among all stakeholders. The strategic role of information management has been recognized, which is generally conducted in accordance with the requirements of ESG standard 1.6. The results obtained show that the respondents rate the efficacy of information management in HEIs highly, which means that all relevant information from the internal and external environment is collected, exchanged and used at the HEI, and that it is used to aid decision making. The respondents expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the flow of information at the HEI, and the highest number of respondents rated the quality of the information as 'very good' and 'excellent'. The results obtained showed a high degree of agreement with all the statements that sought to determine respondents' perceptions of the importance of managing information, and the most common response of respondents to the survey was 'strongly agree'. The perception of the importance of information management at HEIs is pronouncedly positive, and HEIs are aware of the importance and necessity of effective information management between all stakeholders, and at all levels of HEI. The majority of respondents expressed the opinion that the aim of promoting quality at HEI is to achieve high standards in all areas of higher education and to contribute to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. They also expressed a high degree of agreement with the statement that the quality assurance system at HEIs must be continuously developed and improved, which indicates a very positive attitude of the respondents towards the importance of the quality assurance system. The Spearman correlation coefficient indicates a high positive and statistically significant correlation between the perceptions of the heads of HEIs surveyed about the importance of information management and the assessment of the development of the quality assurance system according to ESG standards. The obtained results showed that at HEIs, whose quality assurance systems were classified in higher stages of development by the independent committees, leaders expressed a more positive attitude towards the importance of managing information. Correlation analysis also found a statistically significant high positive correlation between management's perception of the importance of information management on the one hand, and their perception of the importance of the quality assurance system on the other from which it can be inferred that the higher the perception of the importance of information management, the higher the perception of the importance of the quality assurance system. The Mann - Whitney U test was used to determine the difference in the management of information between HEIs that passed independent external audit. The obtained results showed that HEIs at which ESG standard 1.6. is classified in the developed and advanced phase according to the opinions of the commission, also achieve a better overall evaluation of the development of the quality assurance system. These HEIs, according to independent committees, have established information systems, collect relevant information that is used to continuously improve quality, and share information with all stakeholders. The results obtained through the survey method and content analysis contributed to the theoretical understanding of information management issues and quality assurance at HEIs, better understanding of ways of managing information at HEIs in the Republic of Croatia, and understanding od relations of heads at HEIs in the Republic of Croatia towards the information management process and the quality assurance system. The research findings have confirmed the existence of a link between the ways of information management and the effectiveness of the quality assurance system according to the ESG standards, and in that context they can be applied to all higher education institutions which base the evaluation of their efficiency and quality of work on ESG standards and guidelines.