Tag Archives: organizational change

RePort & IndiKon @ EGOS

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.

Abschlussworkshop Neue Steuerung von Universitäten

Am 12.07.2012 fand die Abschlusspräsentation der Ergebnisse des dreijährigen Forschungsprojektes Neue Steuerung von Universitäten – Evaluierung von Governance-Reformen des deutschen Universitätssystems in der Federführung von Prof. Dr. Jörg Bogumil in der Ruhr-Universität-Bochum statt. In einem umfangreichen Survey wurden Rektoren, Kanzler, Dekane und Professoren darüber befragt, ob die durch die durch die 4. Nouvelle des Hochschulrahmengesetzes eingeleitete Reform der Hochschulsteuerung vom “Selbstverwaltungsmodell” zum “Managementmodell” an deutschen Universitäten implementiert wurde und ob die neu eingesetzten Instrumente Wirkungen zeigen.

Die Befragten stimmten grundsätzlich zu, dass die Instrumente der Ziele angemessen sind und ihre Wirkung zeigen. Erstaunlicherweise konnten Varianzen in der Implementierung von Instrumenten weder durch eine Kontrolle der Fächer, noch durch bundeslandspezifische Ausgestaltungen der Hochschulgesetze erklärt werden. Im Rahmen des Projektes konnte darauf bisher keine befriedigende Antwort gefunden werden, doch geben die ergänzenden Fallstudien Aufschluss darüber, dass die Umsetzung sehr stark abhängig von den konkreten Bedingungen der einzelnen Universität ist.

So wurden in zwei Einrichtungen mit ähnlicher Größe, ähnlichem Fächerspektrum und einem ähnlichen formalen Modell (Hierarchie-Ratsmodell mit kompetenzstarken Hochschulräten und Universitätsleitungen nach Otto Hüther 2010) Tiefeninterviews geführt und dabei herausgefunden, dass die Einrichtung aus NRW einer ganzheitlichen Reform unterlag und die Ergebnissteuerung gestärkt sowie die Leistungsorientierung gesteigert wurde, während die bayrische Institution sich allenfalls schleppend verändert. In letzterer wurde der Rektor extern durch den Hochschulrat gegen den Willen des Senats berufen. In der mangelnden Legitimation des Rektors und dem Dissens zum Kanzler wurde eine Erklärung gefunden.

In der Diskussion merkte der Kanzler einer Berliner Hochschule an, dass nicht nur der formal-rechtliche Zwang zum Wandel angeschaut werden müsse, sondern der ökonomische Zwang durch die öffentliche Budgetkürzungspolitik des Landes beachtet werden müsse. Denken wir an die Fusion und Restrukturierung der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg hin zu einem Prototyp einer neuen Hochschulorganisation, so ist die Entschlossenheit und der Erfolg in der Umsetzung auch nicht nur auf rechtliche Rahmenbedingungen zurückzuführen, sondern vielmehr auf die tatsächliche ökonomische Bestandsgefahr, die abgewendet werden musste.

Micro Patterns of Organizational Change in Universities

Some weeks ago, we briefly talked about governing organizational change in universities. Our initial ideas already got accepted for presentation at the Higher Education Research Conference in Zürich. Nonetheless, we’ve been busy finalizing a first draft of the entire paper over the holidays. Here’s the abstract that we just submitted to this year’s conference of the Academy of Management:

Universities are facing increasing institutional pressure to change due to government efforts of New Public Management. Research on higher education institutions broadly suggests that it takes governance, leadership, and management alike to cope with the now perceived misalignment of organizational structures and environmental demands. Unfortunately, organizational change is notoriously difficult to govern since decision making remains ambiguous and anarchic. We address the research gap between broad and deterministic macro modes of governance, leadership, and management on one hand and the micro modes of ambiguous and anarchic decision-making processes on the other hand. Relying on the concept of universities as loosely coupled systems, develop theoretically grounded patterns of temporary micro patterns of tightly coupled strategic issues and governing bodies that facilitate organizational change in universities. We substantiate this micro foundation with three years of longitudinal data from the university senate of one of the largest German universities. Our research findings suggest six micro patterns in organizational change: Agenda building, sense making, three micro patterns of devising, and one of debriefing. In contrast to the macro modes of New Public Management, these micro patterns allow a more fine-grained analysis within four stages of organizational change. Governing change thus entails a bottom-up approach based on micro patterns of tightly coupled strategic issues and governing bodies, not a top-down management of hierarchy and process.

Governing Organizational Change in Universities

Organizational change is an issue as old as organization theory itself. However, it has been largely overlooked in research on higher education institutions. We’re currently working on filling that void. Our short paper entitled Governing Change in Universities: Towards a Micro Foundation (Blaschke, Frost, and Hattke) just got accepted for presentation at the first Higher Education Research Conference in Zürich next year. Now the heat is on, the full paper is due in January. Here’s the abstract:

Universities are facing increasing institutional pressure to change due to government efforts of new public management, more and more academic competition over research grants, and rising student enrolments. Research on higher education institutions broadly suggests that it takes governance, leadership, and managment alike to cope with these recent developments (e.g., de Boer et al., 2007; Bradshaw & Fredette, 2008; Carnegie & Tuck, 2010). Governing organizational change in universities, however, is notoriously difficult. As loosely coupled systems of academic, administrative, or political issues and organizational bodies concerned with these issues, universities presumably defy tight couplings, which are required to govern change. Our aim, then, is to remedy this seemingly paradox by developing patterns of temporary tight couplings that facilitate governing organizational change in universities. Based on research on intentional organizational change and university governance, we first derive propositions for effectively governing four stages of intentional change: initiation, understanding, performance, and closure (Ford & Ford, 1995). We substantiate our theoretical reasoning with thirteen years of longitudinal data from the university senate of one of the largest German universities. Following the four stages, our findings indicate unique patterns of tightly coupled strategic issues and organizational bodies. In contrast to the rather broadly defined macro modes of university governance, leadership, and management, our patterns provide a micro foundation for governing organizational change in universities.

  • Bradshaw, P., & Fredette, C. (2008). Academic Governance of Universities: Reflections of a Senate Chair on Moving From Theory to Practice and Back. Journal of Management Inquiry, 18 (2), 123–133.
  • Carnegie, G. D., & Tuck, J. (2010). Understanding the ABC of University Governance. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 69(4), 431–441.
  • de Boer, H., Enders, J., & Schimank, U. (2007). On the way towards New Public Management? The Governance of University Systems in England, the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany. In D. Jansen (Ed.) New Forms of Governance in Research Organizations, (pp. 137–152). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
  • Ford, J. D., & Ford, L. W. (1995). The Role of Conversations in Producing Intentional Change in Organizations. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 541–570.