Are Dutch universities becoming managed institutions? Seeking evidence for archetype change from the study of university decision-making processes

Elke Weyer

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Abstract

There is wide agreement in the higher education literature that New Public Management has aimed to render formal authority distributions in university decision-making more hierarchical and management-driven (see, e.g. Amaral et al. (2003), Brunsson & Sahlin Anderson (2000), de Boer et al. (2004); Leisyte (2007), Paradeise et al.(2009)). Changes in the formal decision-making structure must, however, not necessarily allow university managers to exercise better control of the university’s core technologies. In this paper, I will introduce the analytical concept of organizational archetypes to address this question for the transformation of Dutch and British universities. I will complement conceptual deliberations with empirical evidence gained from the study of allocating research and teaching tasks in the humanities and the life sciences at a Dutch research university. The evidence indicates that managerial decision-makers on the mid-management level assume an increasingly authoritative role when it comes to allocating teaching- and research tasks among staff members, but that their acting is triggered off by financial concerns and only to a lesser extent by purely functional deliberations. Viewed from a broader perspective, the study sheds light into the organizational consequences of the ‘autonomization’ of the university, being accompanied by a shift away from direct state-funding for teaching and research activities into the direction of competitive funding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages1-20
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2012
EventINTERACT-UNI EU-SPRI Early Career Researcher Conference 2012: New perspectives on enduring research questions in university-society interaction? - University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 9 May 201211 May 2012

Conference

ConferenceINTERACT-UNI EU-SPRI Early Career Researcher Conference 2012
CountryNetherlands
CityEnschede
Period9/05/1211/05/12

Keywords

  • University governance
  • Authority distributions
  • Organizational transformation of the university
  • Archetypes
  • Decision-making

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    Weyer, E. (2012). Are Dutch universities becoming managed institutions? Seeking evidence for archetype change from the study of university decision-making processes. 1-20. Paper presented at INTERACT-UNI EU-SPRI Early Career Researcher Conference 2012, Enschede, Netherlands.