23 SES 12 B JS, New Public Management and Standardization in Higher Educaton in Europe: Implications for Academic Work and Graduate Employability
Symposium Joint Session NW 22 with NW 23
Recent studies have indicated that the changes in European higher education systems are reshaping the nature of academic work (De Boer et al. 2007). New Public Management reforms have spurred changes across different European countries. Particularly standardization of performance criteria, efficiency gains as well as accountability measures such as evaluation of academic staff performance have led to increasing expectations when it comes to academic productivity in general and research productivity in particular. At the same time, the demands for performance and need to attract external funding also increased the workloads of academics as well as expanded their roles to include more valorization and administrative activities next to the traditional roles of teaching and research (Leisyte 2015). As a result, time allocation for various academic tasks becomes imbalanced. If this occurs at the expense of research and valorization, which generally result in more measurable outputs, it may disadvantage academics as appointment and promotion criteria depend heavily on research productivity (Leisyte and Horta, 2011). In such a context, a gendered academic task division can be observed. Recent studies found that female academics are more involved in teaching and administrative roles and have less time for research (e.g. Barrett and Barrett 2011). This may lead to less productivity and therefore create new gender inequalities in academic career advancement. This study investigates the changing pattern of academic roles in the Dutch higher education system and its gender implications. Our research question is: How are different academic roles distributed by gender in different disciplines? How does the social differentiation of academic tasks influence research productivity? Using interviews with human resources managers and a survey conducted with the academic staff across three Dutch universities (n=540) we aim to understand whether the expansion thesis of academic roles holds true at the Dutch universities and across disciplines? And if expansion of academic roles affects academic productivity of gender groups differently? This study contributes to the more nuanced understanding of changes in the academic work in the context of New Public Management reforms as well as academic productivity studies as it takes explicitly gender dimension into account.
Barrett, L., & Barrett, P. (2011). Women and academic workloads: Career slow lane or cul-de-sac? Higher Education, 61: 141–155. Boer, H. F. de; Enders, J.; Leisyte, L. (2007): Public Sector Reform in Dutch Higher Education: The Organizational Transformation of the University. In: Public Administration, 85, 1, pp. 27-46. Leisyte, L. (2015): Changing academic identities in the context of a managerial university – bridging the duality between professions and organizations. Evidence from the U.S. and Europe. In: Cummings, W. K.; Teichler, U. (eds.): The relevance of academic work in comparative perspective. Dordrecht: Springer International Publishing, pp. 59-73. Leisyte, L.; Horta, H. (2011): Introduction to the Special Issue: ‘Academic knowledge production, diffusion and commercialization policies and practices’. In: Science and Public Policy, 38 (6), pp. 422-424.
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