European Review, the journal of the Academia Europaea, just published our article “Governing Collective Action – the Impetus for University Commons”. The Academia Europaea is a European, non-governmental association acting as an academy. Together with the INCHER at Kassel and the Volkswagen Foundation, the Academia Europaea organized a conference on university governance in Hannover in 2016. European Review now published a special issue with all contributions. Our article discusses how different modes of governance facilitate or obstruct collective action in universities. Based on theories of public goods and the resource-based perspective, we develop the concept of university commons in order to analyse the challenges arising from the governance of collective action. We examine how to effectively balance collegial and managerial governance to create a sustainable portfolio of university commons.
The German management journal BFUP – Betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und Praxis published our qualitative study on university governance. The paper details several mediating tactics of university leaders trying to balance competing and contradictory claims of different stakeholders. Here’s the abstract in English: A central aim of reform aspirations in the higher education sector is to strengthen universities’ capacity to act strategically. Universities receive more institutional autonomy, but have to operationalize and quantify their strategies in target agreements with their federal states. For that reason, many Landeshochschulgesetze (LHG) provide increased control power for the top management of universities. At the same time participative rights of decision for the different academic committees are an integral part of the LHG. Thus, different and contradictory leadership requirements coexist. These contradictory leadership requirements impair top managements’ ability to act strategically. The aim of this article is, firstly, to analyze these contradictions and, secondly, to work out which room for maneuver exists for the governance in universities and how it can be used. We use qualitative Interviews with university top management members to illustrate which tactics they can use to mediate between the contradictory leadership requirements in order to implement strategies.
Access the study here: Woiwode, H., Frost, J. & Hattke, F. (2017): Hochschulleitungen zwischen Repräsentation und Ergebnisorientierung – Handlungs(un)fähigkeiten und Vermittlungstaktiken. In: BFuP – Betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und Praxis 69(6), 633-652.
“What rules do we play by?” is the question we’ve followed in our bibliometric study which has just been published in the renowned journal Research Policy. Given the growing importance of journal rankings in academic performance management, it is relevant to researchers and managers alike whether there are certain characteristics of publications that are more prevalent the higher a journal is ranked. Our paper examines how tangible and adaptable characteristics of papers vary between different rating categories of journals and what the drivers of publication in journals at the top of rankings are. We build on a bibliometric analysis of more than 85,000 papers published in 168 management and business journals as rated in 18 popular journal rankings. Results refute some often repeated but rarely substantiated criticisms of journal rankings. Contrary to many voices, we find that interdisciplinarity and innovativeness are positively associated with publication in highly ranked journals. In other respects, our results support more critical assumptions, such as a widespread preference for quantitative methods. By providing more evidence on the implicit standards of journal rankings, this study expands on the understanding of what intended or unintended incentives they provide and how to use them responsibly.
Scientometrics published our article Editorial governance and journal impact: a study of management and business journals. It examines how characteristics of editors, in particular the diversity of editorial teams, are related to journal impact. Our sample comprises 2244 editors who were affiliated with 645 volumes of 138 business and management journals. Results show that multiple editorships and editors’ affiliation to institutions of high reputation are positively related to journal impact, while the length of editors’ terms is negatively associated with impact scores. Surprisingly, we find that diversity of editorial teams in terms of gender and nationality is largely unrelated to journal impact. Our study extends the scarce knowledge on editorial teams and their relevance to journal impact by integrating different strands of literature and studying several demographic factors simultaneously.
Peer review is the central mechanism to verify the quality of scientific manuscripts. According to the internet platform SciRev, peer review processes are often lengthy, which delays the distribution of valuable, novel knowledge within the scientific community. To streamline this phase in scientfic knowledge dissemination, SciRev aims to increase transparency of scientific review processes across journals. Therefore, researchers are invited to evaluate their review experience with a journal based on various characteristics, such as duration of review rounds or rejection time or overall satisfaction with the review process. The information provided is aggregated into scores, which feed into a comprehensive database, so that journals become comparable.
Ultimately, researchers can search for journals with an efficient peer review procedure and benefit from timely publication while journal editors have the opportunity to compare their journal’s performance with that of others.
Check out the website to contribute to the database or benefit from your peers’ journal review experiences.
Together with other selected contributions from the last workshop higher education management, the German journal “Hochschulmanagement” (higher education management) published our paper “Open post-publication-peer-review: an alternative to double-blind reviews in academic journals?”.
The study contributes to the discussion about alternative forms of scientific communication by evaluating the actual dissemination as well as the potential use of open post-publication-peer-review (OPR). The study is based on survey data with a sample of 2.800 authors of academic papers. Results show that only one third of respondents believe that OPR is useful for enhancing the operative reliability of review processes. The advantages of OPR discussed in the literature are only relevant for the general willingness of authors to publish with OPR in principal. However, when it comes to actual publication decisions (open vs. blind peer review), these potential advantages are only of minor importance for the selection of an appropriate journal (with the exception of heterodox research which indeed seems to benefit from OPR). Instead, the choice between the different channels of scientific communication is based on institutionalized aspects (legitimacy, quality, design of the systems) and behavioral considerations (expected negative group dynamics and increased workload of OPR). Within the limitations of our dataset, we conclude that the current potential of OPR to solve the problems of traditional double-blind proesses is limited.
Governing universities is a multi-level as well as a highly paradoxical endeavor. The featured studies in this book examine critically the multifaceted repercussions of changing governance logics and how contradictory demands for scholarly peer control, market responsiveness, public policy control, and democratization create governance paradoxes. While a large body of academic literature has been focusing on the external governance of universities, this book shifts the focus on organizations’ internal characteristics, thus contributing to a deeper understanding of the changing governance in universities.
The book follows exigent calls for getting back to the heart of organization theory when studying organizational change and turns attention to strategies, structures, and control mechanisms as distinctive but interrelated elements of organizational designs. We take a multi-level approach to explore how universities develop strategies in order to cope with changes in their institutional environment (macro level), how universities implement these strategies in their structures and processes (meso level), and how universities design mechanisms to control the behavior of their members (micro level). As universities are highly complex knowledge-based organizations, their modus operandi, i.e. governing strategies, structures, and controls, needs to be responsive to the multiplicity of demands coming from both inside and outside the organization.
Volume 47 of Springer’s Higher Education Dynamics Series advances higher education research by gathering distinguished scholars with an academic background in management and organization studies and a research interest in the dynamics of university governance. Among them are JC Spender, Mats Alvesson, Alfred Kieser, and many more.
Jetta Frost, Markus Reihlen, Ferdinand Wenzlaff and I just published our book on multi-level governance in universities. It summarizes the main results from our project “RePort” which ended in late 2014. In the book, we analyze how external governance of science determines internal coordination mechanisms. For that purpose, we detail university governance on a macro (strategies to cope with the institutional environment), a meso (structures and processes), and a micro level of analysis (behavior control). The book is in German and published by the Kölner Wissenschaftsverlag. You can order it here. Since the threefold framework (macro-meso-micro) proved to be very useful, we are also working on an edited volume in English using the same structure.
The following studies on the practical relevance of management research and on university governance have been accepted for publication:
Alfred Kieser, Alexander Nicolai, and David Seidl develop a research program to investigate how the results of scientific research are utilized in management practice. Forthcoming as “The Practical Relevance of Management Research. Turning the Debate on Relevance into a Rigorous Scientific Research Program” in The Academy of Management Annals.
Bernadette Bullinger, Alfred Kieser, and Simone Schiller-Merkens find rigour and relevance to be embedded in competing institutional logics. Their forthcoming article “Coping with Institutional Complexity: Responses of Management Scholars to Competing Logics in the Field of Management Studies” will be published in the Scandinavian Journal of Management.
Following upper echelon theory, Steffen Blaschke and Fabian Hattke analyze how diversity of top management teams in universities relates to improved performance in terms of academic reputation and grant acquisition. The article “Striving for Excellence: The Role of Top Management Team Diversity in Universities” is forthcoming in a special issue of Team Performance Management.
Based 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.
Our research on university goverance has led to another publication: Blaschke, Frost & Hattke: “Towards a micro foundation of leadership, governance, and management in universities”. In the article, we adress the gap between governance research on the institutional level and research on a behavioral level. The Communication as Constitutive of Organization (CCO) – perspective leads the way. See the article online first.
Our research “Institutional Change of the German Higher Education System: From Professional Dominance to Managed Education” (Markus Reihlen & Ferdinand Wenzlaff) has been published as a book chapter in the Handbook on the Entrepreneurial University (Edward Elgar), edited by Alain Fayolle and Dana Redford.
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.
Please note that our colleague Katrin Obermeit published her review “Students’ choice of universities in Germany: structure, factors and information sources used” in the Journal of Marketing for Higher Education. Congratulations!