The question of the manner in which universities have organised themselves to embed the 'quality' agenda in Scotland is addressed in this paper by considering whether the seemingly different structures generated are in fact sophisticated and efficient forms of resource allocation, or organic and emergent structures with only local applicability and limited rationale. In exploring individuals' conceptions of their own institutional structures to support the Scottish Quality Enhancement Framework, which is the Quality Assurance Agency's enhancement-led approach in Scotland involving all universities, a series of different structures have emerged. These have been reproduced as a series of maps showing the various quality agencies and individuals and the interrelationships between them. Rather than the development of one single model in the face of sectoral requirements, a variety of approaches were in evidence, revealing structural differences across institutions as a result of the presence or absence of particular bodies. Analysis of the maps through an approach based on the four 'lenses' provided by transactional, business, ecological and situationist perspectives sheds light on whether these individual responses are rooted in efficiency or are based more on Lindblom's interpretation of 'muddling through'. Using these models as a basis, a system is produced for others to interrogate quality structures within their own institutions.
- institutional structures