Multiple Perspectives of Cloud: ICT Adoption in Doctoral Education: Evidence from a UK HEI

  • Mohammed Ali

Student thesis: Phd


Emerging technologies serve as examples of how technological innovation can help to explore the potential ways in which technological innovation could impact power struggles and resistance within academic practices conducted with higher education institutions (HEIs). However, emerging technologies have the potential to change significantly both how academic practices are conceived and delivered, and through which its institutions create social relationships. The core argument lies in mechanisms through which emerging technologies develop HEIs’ hierarchical power. For instance, the radical reforms in emerging Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has a fundamental impact on how Universities carry out their everyday functions, such as teaching, research, learning and management, where communication and information sharing play a huge role in facilitating these functions. This calls for a consensus on a brand of ICT that caters to not only the University’s needs, but also stakeholders’ personal information and communication needs. Recently, various organisations have employed an emerging ICT known as “cloud computing” (CC). CC represents a significant shift in ICT that offers ubiquitous, service-based innovation, as well as shared computing provision to enhance simplicity, scalability and efficiency. For HEIs and doctoral education in particular, the effective management of teaching and research practices is paramount to remain competitive in the current education market. CC could potentially meet such expectations and preferences by promoting the sharing of quality information resources to facilitate collaboration or communication between multi-stakeholders operating in doctoral education, offer better service delivery, usability and flexibility and overcome technological user-resistance, thereby helping to address stakeholders’ personal ICT expectations and preferences. However, since CC is a relatively new paradigm in the higher education domain, there is a need to assess the benefits and challenges associated with cloud-service adoption in University settings to assess its suitability as a new emerging ICT solution for doctoral education. The current study endeavoured to contribute to the cloud-service adoption and higher education literature by providing insight of the benefits and challenges associated with doctoral cloud-ICT adoption. Here, a comprehensive valuation of the benefits and challenges of doctoral cloud-ICT adoption is given by employing systems thinking and multiple perspectives theory to provide an understanding of the research findings from a single interpretive case study of a high ranking UK University. The rationale for employing a single case study stems from an existing ICT problem that was identified within the case University and identifying a system solution to tackle that problem. Examining two key narratives deduced from the qualitative data and illustrated in rich pictures demonstrates that the cloud can potentially facilitate doctoral practices through promoting collaborative and information sharing capabilities, though security and trust issues, SLA problems and cultural resistance towards emerging ICTs posed a serious threat towards doctoral cloud-ICT adoption. Contributions of this research are indicated through the multiple perspectives framework that helped to explain the benefits and challenges of adopting a potential doctoral cloud-ICT from a technical, organisational and personal perspective.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorA Wood-Harper (Supervisor) & Ronald Ramlogan (Supervisor)


  • systems thinking
  • rich picture
  • multiple perspectives
  • doctoral education
  • information communication technology
  • cloud-ICT
  • cloud computing
  • higher education

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