Higher education research has been investigating institutional changes. However, we know too little about the way higher education institutions cope with these changes by acting strategically and entrepreneurial as well as transforming themselves into new types of organizations. We kindly invite you to submits abstracts for our next workshop on “Strategic Change and Organizational Transformation, of Higher Education Institutions” on november, 21+22, 2013 at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. See the call and further details here. The workshop is part of the BMBF-funded research project RePort.
On the pre-conference night I was writing to my doctoral students supposing to join me in Istanbul the next morning:
A last small story from our hotel. The place is nice and located in a small alley. When I wanted to get back to my room (they have an electronic key card system), the door didn’t open. I went back to the reception and asked the receptionist for help. He just gave me another card. I asked him: “Are they all the same?.” He responded: “Yes, they are?” – and he was right, it worked on my door without being re-programmed. So the key card seems to be a big fake! I found this quite funny because the key card was just put into place in order to meet institutionalized expectations (the rationality myth) of how a security system of a top hotel should look like. Obviously, they followed a decoupling strategy: impress to meet expectations, but then decouple your technology – its cheaper.
In fact, the story reminds me of a story Bill Starbuck wrote in his autobiographical article. The story runs like this:
I was touring Mexico. Before departing, I read a travel guide that warned one not to drink water from faucets. So for two weeks, I carefully restricted myself to the bottled water that every room provided.
Near midnight on a very hot night in Yucatan, I drank the last of my bottled water. I took my bottle down to the desk clerk and asked if he could get me more.
He said, “I will be happy to help you as soon as I am finished, but you are welcome to get the water yourself.”
“I don’t mind getting the water myself,” I answered. “Where is it?”
“Just fill the bottle at that faucet over there,” he instructed.
“You mean this is just ordinary water from the faucet! Why do you put it in bottles?”
“Tourists refuse to drink it unless it is in bottles,” he explained.
William H. Starbuck (1993) "WATCH WHERE YOU STEP!" OR INDIANA STARBUCK AMID THE PERILS OF ACADEME (RATED PG). In: A.Bedeian (ed.), Management Laureates, Volume 3; JAI Press, pages 63-110.
As announced earlier, we have organized a track entitled “Universities as Democratised Organisations: Bringing Organisation Research Back to University Governance” at the 13th EURAM Annual conference in Istanbul, with the conference theme “Democratising Management”. Click here for the program of our track. EURAM is one of the biggest conferences in Management and Organization Studies. Besides the circumstances in Istanbul, which some people might have convinced to cancel their coming, other tracks lacked of commitment participating the sessions. However, we faced a continuous attendance of nearly the whole group allowing intense exchange and to develop a community. Overall, the track has been a great success because of interesting presentations and discussions. And here is a small wordcloud of the submitted papers to give you an impression what Track 61 at EURAM was about..