22 SES 10 C, Entrepreneurial Universities and Valorisation
With recent changes in European university governance arrangements and with financial stringencies, it is possible to observe university as tighter organization, where decision-making is more centralized and the boundaries between different units are increasingly blurred. Numerous studies show significant university transformation (de Boer, Enders & Schimank, 2007; Leišytė & Dee, 2012; Paradeise et al., 2009).These changed conditions at universities have had serious repercussions for what academic work is about, and where, how and under what conditions academics can pursue knowledge creation and dissemination activities. The accountability following the quasi-market logics have increased the oversight over all academic activities. The tensions for academic work in such context abound. This paper aims to unravel some of these tensions, with specific emphasis on the tensions between profession and organization – and tensions between the logics of quasi-market and collegiality. Academic profession is seen as threatened by the quasi-market logics and the related governance regime. It has been portrayed a ‘victim’ of organizational standards and performance monitoring while managers are portrayed as the ‘carriers of neo-liberal reforms and organizational control’ (Noordegraaf, 2011, p. 1350). The reaction to the threats results in professions creating protective spaces in their organizations by a ‘return to professionalism’ (Freidson, 2001; Noordegraaf, 2011; Rip, 2011). However, studies examining such responses to changing governance have so far limited understanding of how academics in different disciplines and at different hierarchy levels respond to them and how they maintain their professional autonomy and power (e.g. Leisyte, 2007, Teelken et al. 2012). Specifically, we aim to answer the questions: How do academics respond to the threat of their academic protected spaces?
We argue that academics respond to the institutional reform processes which threaten their professional autonomy in various ways depending on how much room for discretion they have and in which organizational unit they are embedded. Here discretion is understood as the power academics possess to assert authority over the content and methods of their work as well as the prestige they hold within the academic community (Chreim et al., 2007; Leisyte, 2007). Discretion may also be influenced by the prestige of their discipline in the discipline pecking order – in which physics would claim the first place (Rip, 2012), thus even though a professor can have high prestige in her/his community, it is not necessarily the case that this person has high discretion organizationally- as the power of other disciplines may be higher in negotiating the autonomy and resources organizationally where academics from different disciplines meet.
Chreim S, Williams BE and Hinings CR (2007) Interlevel influences on the reconstruction of professional role identity. Academy of Management Journal 50(6): 1515–1539. De Boer, H., Enders, J., & Schimank, U. (2007). On the way towards New Public Management? The governance of university systems in England, the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany. In: D. Jansen (Ed.), New forms of governance in research organizations: Disciplinary approaches, interfaces, and integration (pp. 137 – 152). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer; Leisyte, L. (2007). University governance and academic research: Case studies of research units in Dutch and English universities. Ph.D. thesis. Enschede: University of Twente, CHEPS. Leisyte, L. & Dee, J. (2012). Changing Academic Practices and Identities in Europe and the US. Critical Perspectives. In J.C. Smart & M.B. Paulsen (Eds.), Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research (pp. 123-206). Dordrecht: Springer. Noordegraaf, M. (2011). Risky Business: How Professionals and Professional Fields (Must) Deal with Organizational Issues. Organization Studies, 32(10), 1349–1371. Paradeise, C., Reale, E., Bleiklie, I., & Ferlie, E. (Eds.) (2009). University governance. Dordrecht: Springer. Rip, A. (2011). Protected Spaces of Science: Their Emergence and Future Evolution in a Changing World. In M. Carrier & A. Nordmann (Eds.), Science in the Context of Application (pp. 197-220). Springer: Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science. Teelken, C. 2012. Compliance or Pragmatism: How do Academics Deal with Managerialism in Higher Education? A Comparative Study in Three Countries. Studies in Higher Education 37 (3): 271-90.
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