Following the herd? To what extent can Isomorphism conceptualise the positioning of universities in the delivery of Foundation Programmes in Business education


  • David William Stoten Northumbria University


Foundation programme, Business education, Isomorphism, Accreditation


Foundation Programmes (FPs) provide entry to undergraduate study and have grown in popularity in the past decade, particularly in Business. As the foremost example of this qualification type, the Business Management FP facilitates an insight into the ways institutions have responded to the opportunity of offering this level 3 qualification. This paper adopted an integrated desk research approach and reports on differing strategic positioning by universities. For a number of post-1992 institutions, the FP has become an important part of the curriculum and a recruitment asset. In contrast, many pre-1992 universities have chosen to restrict the FP to recruitment to shortage subjects or the international market rather than use it as a means of promoting widening participation for local, mature and disadvantaged students. This paper places the discussion of the FP within the theoretical framework of New Institutionalism and evaluates the relevance of isomorphic influences in policy formulation.