Monthly Archives: November 2014

Edited Volume on “The Institutional Development of Business Schools”

BusinessSchoolsBased on the annual EFMD meetings on higher education studies, Andrew Pettigrew, Eric Cornuel, and Ulrich Hommel issued an edited volume on “The Institutional Development of Business Schools” at OUP. The book features a chapter of our work on governing logics in universities, in which we assess organizational change from a communication constitutes organization (CCO) perspective. The book provides novel empirical findings on the change and development of business schools in particular and universities more generally. The book also offers a stimulating critique of some of the intellectual, professional and economic challenges facing business schools in the contemporary world.

“A conceptualization of scholarly performance in university hospitals and its impact on a pluralistic environment” – First Insights

After finishing the first interviews for our Project  “A conceptualization of scholarly performance in university hospitals and its impact on a pluralistic environment” it’s time to offer a brief glance at this project.

In the context of the increased importance of performance measurement in academia we focus on how scholarly performance and impact are constituted. We understand scholarly performance as a relativistic construct that is shaped by different demands placed on certain scholarly activities. Accordingly it can be assessed on different stages: Besides the understanding of scholarly performance and its impact that is shaped through current performance measurement methods stands scholars’ subjective understanding of their performance and its impact.

Higher education institutions where scholarly performance is embedded in a very complex environment are university hospitals. Scholars that are employed in a university hospital have to combine research and teaching activities with clinical activities. In addition they have to cope with demands of multiple stakeholders, like third party funders, ethical committees or their own professions. Due to this complexity the components of scholarly performance in university hospitals and the demands placed at these components are highly diverse.

We analyze how the understanding of scholarly performance and impact in university hospitals is constituted by and related to the current forms of performance measurement and the pluralistic demands that stakeholders place at scholarly activities. For this purpose we are currently conducting semi-structured interviews with scholars that are employed at a university hospital. We assess medical scholar’s subjective understanding of performance and its impact as well as the valuation-driven understanding that is shaped by the demands that current performance measurement methods place at scholarly activities.  Central research questions are: How do perceived demands of multiple stakeholders and areas of activity shape the understanding of academic impact and its performance? Do demands of certain stakeholders become suppressed through an economic legitimization of activities? How do scholars cope with certain performance measurement instruments?

Our first interviews suggest interesting insights into unintended effects of performance measurement in academia. We`ll keep you updated!

IndiKon’s short visit to Munich

The Network for Science Management (Netzwerk Wissenschaftsmanagement) invited us to participate in their annual meeting which took place in Munich last week. The network aims to support the professionalization of administration through regular exchange of ideas and experiences and has, thus, a strong practical focus. Together with Isabel Welpe, Jutta Wollersheim, and Stefanie Ringelhan from the Chair of Strategy and Organization at TU Munich, I was invited to talk about the governance of academic cooperation from a scholarly standpoint.

The research group from Munich held an impressive talk about quantitative assessments of research productivity and possible performance paradoxes, the differing intensity of collaboration between PhD students of economics and among PhD students of management, and the possibilities of new forms of collaboration (e.g. crowd research), publication (e.g. open peer review and open access) and scholarly communication (e.g. web 2.0 applications). If I might say so, their research looks very interesting and especially their new ventures promise relevant insights.

After their talk, I presented the results of two studies which are currently under review for publication (fingers crossed). The studies approach the emerging actorhood of universities from a governance- and a resource-perspective. As already reported earlier, governance reforms in the early 2000s have strenthened managerial mechanisms and delegated decision-competencies to the upper echelons of universities, the president, vice-presidents, and chancellors. So we asked ourselves, whether the composition of this “top management team” has any influence on how successful the university is in acquiring competitive funding for large collaborative projects? The results suggest that socio-demographic diversity of decision-makers has positive effects on performance in that regard. The second study investigates the increasing professionalization of administration in specialized central support units. Results indicate that performance is not always enhanced by these developments. In some cases, voluntary collective action seems to be more important than support from such units. However, we’re currently gathering additional data and running further tests on our models, so the final results may be more rubust and provide further clarity.

There was broad consensus about the implications of the first study. Some were reminded of Niklas Luhmann who stated that complexity can only be reduced by complexity – a nice thought, indeed. The results of the second study were, not surprisingly, seen a little bit more controversial. I’m grateful for this opportunity to discuss our research with practitioners in the field (many thanks to Dr. Brauns from the Thuringian Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture).

CfP: EURAM Conference – Track on Institional Resistance, War of Positions and Power Maintenance

Next year’s annual conference of the European Academy of Management (EURAM) takes place in Warsaw (Poland) on 17-20 June. Topic 3: “Institutional Resistance, War of Positions and Power Maintenance” explicitely adresses research on higher education.

“The third area of resistance refers to the very place in which knowledge is created and
legitimated: academia. European academic institutions are in the middle of a transition
pointing at a complete rethinking of the concepts of accountability, merit, responsibility and
value. A hegemonic point of view represents current European model as surpassed and deeply
inefficient. Colonial and west‐centric rhetoric of scientific production forces conformism and, in
the same time, stimulates debate and a necessary intellectual resistance.”

The call invites papers from all disciplinary backgrounds, though the listed literature has a strong sociological aspect (Bourdieu, Deleuze, …). I find the topic very interesting and relevant for understanding current movements in continental Europe against New Public Management and its related performance-management techniques.

On Fake Science in “Predatory” Journals

While the future of scholarly communication is still written in the stars, the present publication system reveals its shady sides: In “predatory” journals, activists who pursue political or commercial goals circumvent peer review and publish fake evidence on scientific or pseudo-scientific issues (e.g., reporting alien sightings, denying global warming or promoting untested medicines) in return for payment of a publication fee. The problem: Once published, the articles get indexed in Google Scholar and thus flow freely into the communcation process in science and beyond. Tom Spears reports on this problem in the Ottawa Citizen.

CfP: Annual Conference of the Scientific Commission Higher Education Management

On the 20th and 21st of February 2015 the annual conference of the Scientific Commission Higher Education Management (Wissenschaftliche Kommission Hochschulmanagement im VHB) takes place at the University Duisburg-Essen (Campus Duisburg). Abstracts (max. 1000 words) of articles dealing with the management of higher education institutions can be submitted until the 15th December 2014. Among the areas of interest are:

  • Measurability of research performance
  • Open Access
  • Rankings of scholars, universities and journals
  • New forms of governance at state universities

For further information and a complete overview of the areas of interest take a look at the call for papers (only in German).

A piece on editorial governance

As our IndiKon project proceeds, it splits up into several sub-projects, one of which is concerned with the hidden drivers of journal rankings. Such rankings are increasingly important elements of performance management systems in higher education. We are now in the midst of gathering data on the composition of editorial boards, and we are truly amazed by the great variety of different roles, functions and bodies in the editorial governance of journals. Here is a selection (making no claim to be exhaustive):

Area Editor, Associate Editor, Associate Editor Board, Associate Editor ex officio, Associate Editor for Reviews, Board of Professionals, Book Review Board, Book Review Editor, Co-Editor, Consulting Editor, Contributing Editor, Coordinating Editor, Copy Editor, Cross-National Studies Editor, Department Editor, Deputy Editor, Editor, Editor Elect, Editor Emeritus, Editor-at-Large, Editorial Advisor, Editorial Advisory Board, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Board, Editorial Coordinator, Editorial Manager, Editorial Review Board, Editor-in-Chief, Editor-in-Chief Elect, Executive Board, Executive Director, Executive Editor, Executive Editorial Board, Feature Editor, Former Editor, Former Editor-in-Chief, Founding Editor, General Editor, Graphics Editor, Honorary Editor, Incubator, Joint Editor, Managing Editor, Managing Editor Emeritus, Manuscript Editor, Past Editor, Past Editor-in-Chief, Point-Counterpoint Editor, Policy Board, Product Editor, Production Coordinator, Production Editor, Production Manager, Regional Assistant Editors, Regional Editor, Reviewing Editor, Section Editor, Senior Advisory Board, Senior Associate Editor, Senior Editor, Special Adviser, Special Editor, Special Projects Manager, Subject Area Associate Editor, Technical Editor, Web Editor.

CfP: The Future of Scholarly Communication in Economics

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) and the Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW) are organizing a workshop on the topic “The Future of Scholarly Communication in Economics”. The event will be held in Hamburg on March 30-31, 2015. Approximately 8 papers will be selected for presentation. Mark Armstrong (Oxford University) will deliver a plenary talk.

The journal “Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal” is planning to publish a special issue related to the workshop. For the workshop, the committee invites researchers from economics and other disciplines to submit related empirical and theoretical contributions. Among the areas of interest are:

  • Pros/cons of the review process, and new ideas for improvements
  • Different methods to measure reputation
  • Impact of open access on the publication market
  • Inclusion of research data in the publication process
  • The changing role of publishers, libraries, and scientific communities
  • The potential of social media tools (blogs, wikis, twitter, facebook etc.) in scholarly communication

Submission deadline: November 30, 2014 (completed or draft papers preferred). Find the call for papers here.