The article explores academic identities in Ukrainian research universities whilst means–ends decoupling takes place at the state level. The latter term implies that the practices of state policies are disconnected from the state’s core goal of creating public welfare. Such means–ends decoupling occurs in oligarchic economies, Ukraine being one. Data for research were collected through semi-structured interviews with 38 academics from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences affiliated with 2 Ukrainian research universities. The findings reveal that while institutional complexity caused by means–ends decoupling at the state level results in means–ends decoupling at the organisational level which leads to cultural complexity, both institutional and cultural complexities experienced by academics trigger them to sustain means–ends decoupling at the individual level. As a consequence, academics are able neither to adopt practices/roles prescribed by the organisational identities of the global model of the research university nor to attain synergy among them. The greater means–ends decoupling at the individual level implies a larger gap between constructed academic identities and identities prescribed by the global model of the research university. The greater awareness of academics about their practices being either loosely related or not related at all to their core goal (aspirational identity) and the larger number of practices which they compartmentalise the greater the dissonance they experience. As means–ends decoupling at all the aforementioned levels implies a severe diversion of human intellectual capital in Ukraine, it entails grave consequences for the Ukrainian society and economy.
- Multiple organisational identities
- Research university
- Cognitive dissonance
- Means–ends decoupling