62 research outputs found

    An organisational perspective on social exclusion in higher education : a case study

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    We explore organisational mechanisms underlying social exclusion in higher education, the latter defined as the underrepresentation of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. We focus on ñ€Ɠdecoupling,ñ€ which is a central concept in organisational institutionalism referring to the construction of gaps between public commitment and core organisational practices, a common phenomenon in organisations worldwide. In the context of social inclusion this implies that universities are often publicly committed to social inclusion whereas their actual practices reproduce social exclusion. Drawing on an in-depth case study of a Flemish university, we identify four possible antecedents of decoupling: institutional contradictions resulting from the neo-liberalisation of higher education, uncertainty about effective inclusive practices, resistance of key constituencies and resource stringency resulting from experiences of lacking public funding

    Branding of UK higher education institutions: an integrated perspective on the content and style of welcome adresses

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    The transformation to a more market-oriented steering approach in European higher education challenges universities and other higher education institutions to consider developing branding or image management activities. The existing literature focuses either on the content or the style, but we argue that an integrated perspective is needed to fully grasp the processes underlying branding. In a comparative case study of ten UK higher education institutions with varying reputations – five highly reputed versus five low(er) reputed institutions – we demonstrate how and why branding is deployed in welcome addresses of institutional leaders. Our findings indicate that isomorphic tendencies are visible, although brand differentiation could also be identified between highly and lowly reputed institutions. Our findings provide support for the competitive group perspective on branding activities

    How do university systems' features affect academic inbreeding? Career rules and language requirements in France, Germany, Italy and Spain

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    Author's accepted manuscript.Available from 19/01/2023.This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Seeber, M. & Mampaey, J. (2021). How do university systems' features affect academic inbreeding? Career rules and language requirements in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Higher Education Quarterly, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/hequ.12302. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.Studies on academic inbreeding have mostly focused on institutional inbreeding and its negative effects, whereas little research has explored its causes. We identify current explanations of the macro‐, meso‐ and micro‐level factors that sustain academic inbreeding as well as research gaps. We address a main research gap regarding what macro‐level factors contribute to academic inbreeding, by analysing systems’ norms and rules regulating access to senior academic positions and teaching language requirements in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, the largest public university systems of the European Union. The analysis reveals that career rules designed to guarantee quality may have unintended effects in terms of academic inbreeding. Most importantly, the habilitation procedures pose greater challenges to international candidates and often increase barriers between disciplines as well. In some disciplines and regions, language requirements contribute substantially to academic inbreeding.acceptedVersio

    Uit de ivoren toren

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    Are higher education institutions trapped in conformity? A translation perspective

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    In the higher education literature, there seems to be a growing consensus that contemporary higher education institutions (HEIs) are trapped in conformity. From a new institutional perspective, higher education scholars argue that HEIs tend to comply with widely endorsed institutionalized values (e.g. academic excellence) and this widespread compliance leads to field homogeneity, at least in the missions of HEIs. In this paper, we introduce an alternative perspective drawing on recent insights in Scandinavian institutionalism. From this perspective, it has been argued that organizations tend to develop organization-specific, heterogeneous definitions of institutionalized values to establish a fit with the modalities of the specific organizational context. Based on a comparative case study in Flanders, we investigate translation rules that shape heterogeneous definitions of the institutionalized value of socio-demographic diversity. The major contribution of our study is that it sheds new light on the dynamics underlying field homogeneity versus heterogeneity in higher education

    Towards a translation perspective on the positioning of higher education institutions

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    We draw on the translation perspective that is dominant in the Scandinavian version of organisational institutionalism to investigate the competitive positioning of higher education institutions. This perspective enables us to theorise the antecedents of competitive positioning – i.e. why do higher education institutions develop organisation-specific positions? – a research question that has been largely neglected in the existing literature. Empirically, we investigate this question in the context of the institutionalised value of social justice. Our key finding is that the material context of higher education institutions constrains how the institutionalised value is framed and which student market segments are targeted