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Uncovering the relationship between student engagement and organizational culture in a public university in Turkey

Borhan, Ersan.
Student engagement has become a seminal phenomenon in recent higher education studies since it is associated with both desirable student outcomes and the quality of higher education policies and practices. It is defined as the time and energy devoted by the students to their studies and institutional efforts to create effective educational environment. Although the literature has given in-depth comprehension about the role of organizational characteristics in engagement, there has been few studies touching upon engagement through organizational culture. Therefore, this study aimed to uncover the relationship between student engagement and organizational culture in higher education. The sample of the study, where correlational design was employed, was composed of a total of 429 students enrolled at a public university in Turkey. The data were collected with the Student Engagement Scale and the Organizational Culture Assessment Inventory (OCAI). The confirmatory factor analysis performed to the Turkish version of the OCAI confirmed its three-factor structure, and therefore, revealed three culture types: adhocratic-clan, market, and hierarchy. The results showed that there was a significant relationship between student engagement and these three culture types. Furthermore, it was found out that engagement was significantly predicted by adhocratic-clan and market cultures, while it was not the case for the hierarchy culture. Overall, universities pursuing increased student engagement may consider such results in their culture building or culture change processes as well as in implementing engaging activities and guiding the organization to adopt engaging practices and policies.