Working in the Shadow of Hierarchy: Organisational Autonomy and Venues of External Influence in European Universities

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    Abstract

    Over recent decades, ‘autonomy’ has become a buzz word in higher education reform and universities were thought to be empowered to determine their own destiny. This chapter examines the organisational autonomy of universities in Europe. The multidimensional analyses of autonomy show that universities in practice experience considerable decision-making space, which in many cases is even more than expected, given their formal, legal autonomy situation. At the same time, the autonomy of universities is strongly circumscribed by their lasting financial dependence on the public purse, by contractual performance agreements, multiple accountability requirements, and by working in the shadow of governmental rules and expectations. Granting universities more autonomy does not reflect a weakening influence of government but new ways of controlling and influencing organisational behaviour.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationManaging Universities
    Subtitle of host publicationPolicy and Organizational Change from a Western European Comparative Perspective
    EditorsIvar Bleiklie, Jürgen Enders, Benedetto Lepori
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Pages57-83
    Number of pages27
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-53865-5
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-53864-8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    NamePalgrave Studies in Global Higher Education
    PublisherPalgrave MacMillan

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