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FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam

EUROCORES: Transformation of European Universities (TRUE). Individual Project 1.

Awarded: NOK 4.1 mill.

TRUE is a comparative study of universities in eight European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK. We ask: to what extent have current university organisations changed from decentralized, loosely co upled organisations into organisations with stronger hieararchies, leadership, managerial and strategic capabilities? To what extent is the degree and form of change that have taken place in universities the outcome of higher education policies and reform efforts? What are the implications of such changes for higher education landscapes? 1 Organizational change: There are cross national as well as cross institutional variation. Universities in some countries (UK and Portugal) have moved further in thi s direction than other and were Italian universities have moved less than those in other countries. Cross institutionally three ideal types were identified: ? The ?classical? research university, which have less developed hierarchical structures. ? The ?managerial? university is strongly hierarchical. ? The ?specialist? universities score high on indicators of hierarchy, and organizational identity. However, universities are increasingly embedded in and dependent upon relationships with extern al bodies in the strategically important areas such as funding, evaluation and hiring. This may limit the space for strategic action of institutional leaders. 2 The forces shaping higher education landscapes are still poorly understood. We elaborated an analysis of the relationship environment?organisation and the development of strategies. Secondly, by reinterpreting the established knowledge on transformations of European higher education in light of institutional theory, an integrated framework for studying and analysing higher education systems and organisational change is can be developed. 3 Systematic comparisons of the relationship between politico-administrative regime types and higher education reform activity have been developed. The resu lts demonstrate that there is no straightforward unequivocal relationship between politico-administrative structures and reform activity. Nevertheless, it clarifies how structural conditions may have implications for policy in a more flexible and ambiguou s way than expected.

The project focuses on: 1) How policy makers try to affect the behaviour of individual HEIs and the HE system. 2) How and to what extent national reform policies diffuse within and across countries, or are confined to specific national reform trajectories . 3) How European policies are formulated and how they may have affected national reform trajectories. 4) To what extent policy processes at different organisational levels have changed university institutions. The changes observed will be explained in t erms of actor constellations (the number and type of actors involved in governance and steering), governmental structural arrangements and institutionalised styles of policy making and implementation. The research design calls for a qualitative approach based on interviews and site visits, available policy documents. Based on the overall TRUE research design, the project will be based on three different data sources in close cooperation with the other IPs within the CRP: 1) National case studies of HE p olicies. A first stage will be based on literature review and a review of national and European official documents. The second stage will consist of semi structured interviews with policy makers.. 2) Case studies of individual institutions. The IP will c ollaborate with IPs working on the sub theme on organisational change and on the policy sub theme in developing questions to be integrated in the common case study interview framework and provide for extensive sharing of results. 3) Survey of all HEIs in the countries involved. The project will develop a section of the questionnaire containing a number of key questions allowing discrimination of different national arrangements, actor constellations, policy designs and policy styles and how they affect ins titutions.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam