Monthly Archives: December 2014

CfP: Governance, Performance & Leadership of Research and Public Organizations

Our colleagues from Munich are organizing a conference on “Governance, Performance and Leadership of Research and Public Organizations” on the 15th and 16th of July, 2015. Deadline for abstracts (500 words) is on February 17th. Find the full call for papers here (German or English).

Survey launched: An inquiry into the peer-review system of academic journals

Peer reviewing is a widespread procedure for evaluating the quality of scholarly manuscripts before publication. As such, it is at the heart of academia. Yet, little is known how scholars percieve the peer-review process.

Today, we initiated our survey into the peer-review system from the perspective of those who submit papers to academic journals. The survey asks questions about general attitudes towards your job, your personal experiences with peer reviews, and possible alternatives to the common pre-publication peer review process. We’ll keep you posted on the results!

Business Research at German Universities

The figures below display networks of relations between different fields of business research at public German universities. They visualize how the fields are connected to each other, which fields are stronger embedded and which are peripheral.

Altogether, 1.287 full professors are currently teaching and studying business at 78 institutions. I took their membership in scientific commissions at the German Association for Business Research (VHB) and, in case of no membership, information about their institutes or chairs to specify the fields of research. Each scholar may be affiliated to one or more of the following communities: 1) Banking and Finance, 2) Business Taxation, 3) Academic and Higher Education Management, 4) International Management, 5) Logistics, 6) Marketing, 7) Sustainability Management, 8) Public Business Administration, 9) Operations Research, 10) Organization, 11) Human Resources Management, 12) Production Management, 13) Accounting, 14) Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 15) Business Information Systems, 16) Philosophy of Science and Business Ethics.

The sixteen fields of business research are shown as nodes. The size of a node depends on the number of members in the respective commission. A tie between two nodes indicates a professor’s membership in both communities. Tie strength indicates the number of professors with co-memberships (the stronger the tie, the more co-memberships). The second network displays only ties with more than 10 co-memberships. It’s an arbitrary threshold to provide better visual interpretation.

The biggest community is Accounting (243 members), followed by Organization (229), and Marketing (200). The smallest fields are Academic and Higher Education Management (50) and Public Business Administration (77). It’s obvious that a functional focus is more common than object-oriented specializations. The strongest links exist between Organization and Human Resource Management (96 co-memberships), Production Management and Logistics (65), and Accounting and Business Taxation (61). The most embedded field of reserach is Organization, followed by Production Management. Surprisingly, the two object-oriented fields of Academic and Higher Education Management and Public Business Administration are at the periphery of the network, despite the fact that their operations likely involve most of the other functional areas.

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Are universities responding better and faster to market demands?

I want to share an interesting thought on university-industry-relations concerning the development of curricula and research according to business demands. Generally, the political discourse increasingly emphasizes the urge to cooperate with industry: “universities should develop structured partnership WITH the world of enterprise in order to become significant players in the economy, able to respond better and faster to the demands of the market and to develop partnerships which harness scientific and technological knowledge.” (European Commission, 2009: 2). But, according to the “conventional wisdom”, universities are seen “as basically reluctant partners, unwilling or slow to respond to market demand” (Regini, 2012: 87).

However, Regini’s empirical findings suggest the opposite: universities do try to account for anticipated market demands, but not so the enterprises. The uncertainty of market developments simply forbids enterprises to “effectively anticipate their own needs for highly-skilled labor and competent human capital” (Regini, 2012: 87).

If the demand for skills (graduates) is highly volatile, how can universities made responsible for qualification mismatches? In other words, either the business world is made responsible for not being able to create a PROJECTABLE demand or both industry and universities have to be freed from the burden of being responsible of qualification mismatches, over-qualification or unemployment. Developed capitalist economies either live with the numerous market failures or we have to rethink the functionality of the capitalist market rather than to push universities to heal these systems failures.

EC, 2009. A new partnership for the modernisation agenda for universities: Education, research and innovation. Communication, COM(2009) 158. Brussels: European Comission.

Regini, M. 2012. Economizing and Marketization in a Functionally Differentiated Capitalist Society–A Theoretical Conceptualization. In U. Schimank, & U. Volkmann (Eds.), The Marketization of Society: Economizing the Non-Economic: 81-94.

Opening of The Silent University @ Hamburg

We’re happy to report some exciting news:

“Hamburg is getting a new university: The Silent University Hamburg. It will be set up by academics from all over the world, who live here as “refugees”. The pictures of fleeing and asylum are powerful: full boats, full reception camps, people as supplicants, people as a problem. Even vocational qualifications are rarely recognized. Thus people with a precarious future also have part of their past taken away from them. In Hamburg there are fortunately also other images: pictures of people, who defend themselves against their impotence. This is where The Silent University Hamburg gets involved. It is an education forum without bureaucratic barriers. Here refugees and migrants can reinvigorate their competencies – and so regain some of their dignity. They teach, learn and organize themselves. In talks, seminars and on the Internet they share their knowledge with interested persons, who register themselves as students on the website of the project. The Kurdish artist Ahmet Öğüt founded the project in 2012. To date, institutes in London and Stockholm have been established, and now Hamburg is to be added, initiated by Curating the City e.V. in cooperation with Stadtkuratorin Hamburg, W3 – Werkstatt für internationale Kultur und Politik e.V. and Zusammen Leben & Arbeiten e.V.” (Text by Marenka Krasomil and The Silent University Hamburg)

We’ll report on science-studies.com and on this new weblog about The Silent University @ Hamburg and wish all involved people all the best in this exciting and truly humanistic endeavor!!!