As you might have noticed, our blog has become somewhat quiet recently. But the hot summer is not the (only) reason.. During the past weeks, we’ve been busy crafting our papers for this year’s EGOS conference.
As you’ll know from your own experience, the title of a short paper may change significantly when it is developed towards a full paper. The story gets a new twist, is enlarged or further condensed, theoretical constructs may change, and conceptual frameworks are specified. And sometimes empirical observations just won’t tell the story you’ve expected in the first place..
So here’s the list of our short and full paper titles:
Short: Organizational responses to evaluations, rankings and performance indicators – Evidence from French and German universities. Full: Organizational Responses to Institutional Complexity – Evidence from French and German Universities.
Short: How Rankings Impede Scientific Progress. Full: What Makes Journals Highly Ranked? A Bibliometric Analysis of Management and Organization Studies.
Short: University commons: An empirical analysis of collective resources in German universities. Full: Organizing Collective Action? An Empirical Analysis of Common Goods in German Universities.
Our joint projects are represented at this years EGOS conference in Rotterdam. Here’s a short summary of our activities:
Alfred Kieser is chairing a track together with Lars Engwall and Richard Whitley on “Universities in Unsettled Times: Effects of Evaluations, Accreditations and Rankings” (see this post for the cfp).
A research collaboration that started at last years EURAM conference has led to first results. Markus, Ferdinand and myself are co-authoring a paper from Anne Riviere and Marie Boitier (both Toulouse Business School) entitled: “Organizational responses to evaluations, rankings and performance indicators – evidence from French and German Universities”.
Rick and Alfred will evaluate “How rankings impede scientific progress” – a major concern of both, scientists and policy makers.
Together with Jetta and Steffen, I’ll elaborate our theoretical reasoning on university commons by using empirical data: “Universities commons: An empirical analysis of collective resources in German universities”.
Last but not least, Markus and Ferdinand will present their paper “From institutional contradictions to organizational transformation: The case of a university merger” in Sub-theme 23: Public Sector Reforms and Organizational Responses: Comparing Universities and Hospitals.
So, plenty of opportunities to meet, discuss, work, laugh & chat @ Rotterdam! Hope to see you there.
A first outcome of our effort to develop a resource-perspective for higher education institutions got published in a special issue, edited by the commission “higher education management” in the German association of business and management professors. You can find the abstracts of the special issue here.
In recent years, European universities have undergone many reorganizing efforts. Although differing from country to country, the dominant pattern is a centralization of activities and responsibilities (de Boer et al., 2005). Hitherto, higher education research mainly adresses this development from a governance perspective. This stream of research primarily analyses the scope of actions and formal responsibilities of different status and stakeholder groups in (de)central governing bodies (Mora, 2001). Although some organization-economic (Antonelli, 2007) and behavioristic (Cohen et al., 1972) studies exist, the governance perspective is primarily rooted in organization-sociology (Krücken, 2011). Centralization tendencies are discussed rather critical as they might endager the social function of universities (Birnbaum, 2004).
However, the governance point of view – with its focus on (formal) behavior control and allocation of decision rights – is only one among many theoretical frameworks to analyze organizations. Another prominent perspective is the resource or competence perspective (Noteboom, 2004; Williamson, 2000). It directs our attention to the generation of organization specific resources (Barney 1991) like organizational knowledge (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000; Grant, 1996) or core competencies (Dierickx & Cool, 1989; Prahalad & Hamel, 1990). From a resource perspective, the pooling of activities may support the core activities of teaching and research. In the long run, a centralized creation of common resources might even enhance the institution’s reputation, attracting international students, better scholars, and higher funding. Like governance-focused research, the resource perspective also acknowledges the possible shortcomings of a centralization. They mainly arise from observability and measurement problems of knowledge-based activities (Leitner & Warden, 2004). Thus, there is no such thing as ‘the’ optimal degree of centralization. The pros and cons must be carefully considered and balanced. However, by focussing the development and sharing of organizational knowledge and competencies, resource based studies of universities may provide novel and fruitful insights for the debate on which activities to centralize and which to delegate.
Our current study on University Commons develops a resource perspective for higher education institutions. It might supplement previous arguments made from a governance perspective. We’ll keep you posted..
This summer semester, the chair of organization and management will hold a bachelor seminar on university governance. Following the Humboldian ideal of integrated research and teaching, we want students to take an active part in our current research projects. For example, students will examine the role of universities as scientific objects in organization research (e.g. Cohen et al. 1972, Weick 1976), evaluate on opportunities for new ways of participative governance besides elected councils (e.g. Bryson & Anderson 2000), or discuss potential problems of task interdependencies caused by common resources (e.g. Ostrom 2003).
We are looking foreward to conjointly develop creative ideas and further insights on university governance from organization and management perspectives!
- Bryson, J. M. & Anderson, S. R. (2000). Applying Large-Group Interaction Methods in the Planning and Implementation of Major Change Efforts. Public Administration Review, 60(2): 143-155.
- Cohen, M. D., March, J. G., & Olsen, J. P. (1972). A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice. Administrative Science Quarterly, 17(1), 1-25.
- Ostrom, E. (2003). How Types of Goods and Property Rights Jointly Affect Collective Action. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 15(3), 239-270.
- Weick, K. E. (1976). Educational organizations as loosely coupled systems. Administrative science quarterly, 21(1), 1–19.