Tag Archives: seminar

Engaging Students: Seminar on University Governance

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.

In Search of Order in Germany's Public Higher Education Discourse

Last Friday, I presented some preliminary research in a seminar on “sociological discourse analysis” at Hamburg Graduate School. The research question we are examining by using a discourse-analytic method (e.g. Foucault 1973) came up when we scanned newspapers for articles about the recent development in Germany’s higher education sector.

Some participants in the discourse strongly welcome measurements and rankings as a form of ‘objective’ output control, while other actors dismiss these methods and prefer peer control mechanisms by the academic society (see this article in ‘Die Zeit’, for example). Some arguments against the latest reforms in university governance seem to promote the control mechanisms used in the ‘Ordinarien’ university, which was abolished after student protests in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

So we wondered, what organizing principles constitute the idealtypic ‘Ordinarien-‘,  ‘Gruppen-‘ and ‘Unternehmerische Universität’, based on management and organization literature (e.g. Mintzberg 1980, Ahrne & Brunsson 2011)? When we got an answer to this question, we hope to clarify who is demanding what in the public discourse, which consequences the proposed or dismissed forms of organizing might have, and finally shed some (theory framed) light into an ideological framed discussion.

  • Ahrne, G., & Brunsson, N. (2011). Organization outside organizations: the significance of partial organization. Organization, 18(1), 83‐104.
  • Foucault, M. (1973): Die Archäologie des Wissens. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp Verlag.
  • Mintzberg, H. (1980). Structure in 5’s: A Synthesis of the Research on Organization Design. Management Science, 26(3), 322–341.