Managing university records in the world of governance

Date19 March 2018
Published date19 March 2018
AuthorMathews J. Phiri,Alistair George Tough
Managing university records in
the world of governance
Mathews J. Phiri
Mzuzu University, Mzuzu, Malawi, and
Alistair George Tough
HATII, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigatethe relationship between corporate governance and
recordsmanagement in the context of higher education in Sub-SaharanAfrica.
Design/methodology/approach This is a qualitative research taking the form of a collective case
study of six institutions.
Findings That good records managementcan and does contribute to effective corporate governanceand
accountability.However, this relationship is not necessarilypresent in all circumstances.
Research limitations/implications That further corporatisation in highereducation is likely to be
supportedby, and result in, better records management.
Originality/value The paper proposes governancerecord keeping as an approach to managing records
and documentsin the world of governance, audit and risk.
Keywords Corporate governance, Universities, Public sector reform, Risk management,
Accountability, Governance record keeping
Paper type Research paper
The relationships between governance,audit, risk and record keeping are a central concern
of the discipline of records management. This study investigated them through a series of
case studies of practice in six universities in South Africa and Malawi. Universities have
been undergoing a process of corporatisation in recent years, and this has profound
implications for governance, audit, risk and record keeping. By focussing on higher
education institutions in Southern Africa, this study reveals some interesting patterns and
contrasts and promptsan innovative conclusion.
The study takes the form of a collective case study in which multiple cases are used to
critically explore the relationships between record keeping and governance, audit and risk.
As qualitative research that belongsin the interpretive tradition of enquiry, the study is not
intended to suggest prescriptive solutionsto general record keeping problems but rather to
provide an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that arise in managing
records and documents in the world of governance,audit and risk. Of particular interest are
the questions:
(1) what goes on in the workplace;
(2) what are the problems; and
(3) what alternative approaches might address any existing problem situations.
Since the time of writing this article Dr Mathews J. Phiri regrettably died.
Received14 November 2016
Revised22 February 2017
Accepted22 February 2017
RecordsManagement Journal
Vol.28 No. 1, 2018
pp. 47-61
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/RMJ-11-2016-0042
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