Forskningsprojekt med anknytning till HERO.

Academic collegiality: An international comparative project

The higher education and research system is both accommodating and reproducing a continuous dilemma. On the one hand, following Humboldtian ideals, research and higher education is expected to be run by autonomous interrelated academic communities. This is often described as collegial governance. On the other hand, research and higher education is an instrument for the fulfillment of certain goals external to the academic community. Governance and control are then tailored as means to fulfill these. In practice those forms of governance tend to be formed in line with bureaucratic or enterprise models. As a consequence of this continuous dilemma, universities and higher education and system or which they are a part, become meeting points for various governance models. Different ways of governing express different aims of higher education and research and hence different views on what is to be governed, by whom and with what means.

Universities are among the oldest and most sustainable institutions on earth. At the same time, throughout centuries and decades academic systems over the world have experienced recurrent transformations in the way they are governed. These transformations follow societal and political changes, waves of organizational reforms and the erosion of faculty authority. Research on such governance transformations have shown how higher education and research have been subject to rationalization and organizing according to widely spread bureaucratic and enterprise (often also termed as managerial) ideas and ideals. These reforms do not seem to have followed a grand plan but have been introduced piece by piece and they have only partly been tied to changed missions, tasks and roles of research and higher education. Even so, it is clear that changed modes of governance have both been pushed by and led to changes in the missions, roles and tasks of higher education and research. Means of governance change both what is to be governed and by whom.

Studies of individual universities, national university systems and international comparisons have documented and analyzed changes of governance, what drives them and with what consequences. As is the case more generally for studies of changed and reformed governance, we would argue, they focus more on what is new than on what is left behind, dissolved or teared down. Previous and challenged modes of governing are likely to be taken for granted, or referred to as something well known. It may even be the case that the lack of clarifications and analysis of those forms of governance that are being challenged make them less likely to sustain.

Recent changes of university systems, debates on academic freedom, and changing roles of knowledge in society all point to questions regarding how higher education and research should be governed and what role scientists and faculty have. Rationalizations of systems of higher education and research have gone hand in hand with an erosion of faculty authority and challenged academic collegiality. But what is academic collegiality, how can it work in practice, what role do they presuppose for academic faculty in processes of governance and what are the conditions for collegiality to work? We see a need for a more conceptually precise discussion on what academic collegiality is, how it is practiced, how collegial forms of governance may be supported or challenged by other forms of governance and, finally, why collegial governance of higher education and research is important.

The study compares understandings of academic collegiality and collegial procedures across the world. With this study we strive to get insights into procedures that result from the encounter between diverse modes of governing. We conceive of collegiality as an essentially contested concept and already a quick review of what is happening across the world shows that challenges as well as understandings, procedures, context and governance mix vary across the globe. To situate academic collegiality in such diverse setting, to capture the contestations and to develop answers to the questions posed above the project is set up as a thematic comparative project where different study objects are in focus for each empirical study while comparations are done in a continuous dialogue across settings.

The project is led by Kerstin Sahlin, Uppsala university and Ulla Eriksson-Zetterquist, University of Gothenburg.

The international partners are: Francisco Ramirez, Stanford University and Seungah Lee, New York University ; Nico Cloete and Francois Van Schalkwyk, Stellenboch University; Rick Delbridge, University of Cardiff, Paolo Quattrone, University of Manchester and Jakov Jandric, University of Edinburgh; Michael Lounsbury and Logan Crace, University of Alberta and Joel Gehamn The George Washington University; Jean-Louis Denis, University of Montreal and Nancy Côté, Université Laval; Gili Drori, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ravit Mizrahi-Shtelman, Kibbutzin College; Hokyu Hwang, University of New South Wales; Georg Krücken, University of Kassel and Anna Kosmützky, University of Kassel; Simon Marginson, Oxford University; Christine Musselin and Audrey Harroche, Science Po; Pedro Pineda, University of Bath; Paolo Quattrone, University of Manchester; Peter Walgenbach, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena; Wen Wen, Tsinghua University; and Yong Suk Yang, Yonsei University.

Hampus Östh Gustafsson, Johan Boberg, Tina Hedmo and Caroline Waks from Uppsala University also participate in this study.

The project is partly funded by Vetenskapsrådet and by Handelsbankens forskningsstiftelser

Svensk högre utbildning: Finansiering, organisering, rekrytering, utfall, 1950-2020 (SHEFOE)

Trots att det råder konsensus om att högre utbildning och forskning är fundamentala pelare för kunskapssamhället, finns ännu stora luckor i vår förståelse för grundläggande demografiska, sociala, ekonomiska och organisationsmässiga villkor som påverkat och påverkar svensk högre utbildnings utveckling över tid.

För att fylla dessa luckor anlägger detta mångdisciplinära projekt ett historiskt perspektiv, och analyserar de huvudsakliga förändringarna av den högre utbildningen mellan 1950-2020. Projektet följer förändringar inom olika ämnesområden (samhällsvetenskaperna, naturvetenskaperna, humanvetenskaperna osv.) och på olika nivåer (grundläggande, avancerad och forskarutbildningsnivå). Det är uppdelat i fyra delstudier som berör fyra grundläggande dimensioner i den högre utbildningen: dess organisation, finansiella villkor, rekryteringsmönster och utfall i relation till arbetsmarknaden. För detta ändamål används statistiska data över studenter och undervisande personal, kombinerat med intervjuer, arkivmaterial och policydokument.

Projektet samlar forskare från fyra olika forskningsmiljöer: Forskningsgruppen för utbildnings- och kultursociologi (SEC)​ knuten till Uppsala Universitet, Forum för professionsforskning ​(FPF) knutet till Linnéuniversitetet, Stockholms centrum för forskning om offentlig sektor (SCORE), samt Nordisk institutt for studier av innovasjon, forskning og utdanning (NIFU) i Oslo, och samarbetar med The European research program INTERnational COoperation in the SSH: Comparative Socio-Historical Perspectives and Future Possibilities (INTERCO-SSH).

Vetenskapsrådet finansierar projektet, som löper från januari 2017 till december 2020.

Mer information finns här.

The Holy Trinity of Organization: the C hanging role of administration in modern universities

This project aims to develop knowledge on current changes in administrative practices of public sector organizations, and the implications thereof for the relations between administration, professions and management of the organization – the Holy Trinity of Organization. Our specific purpose is to theorize administration as a central element in organizational development and change, and analyse how changes in administration interrelates with other changes to produce long-term change in core activities of these organizations. We do this by investigating the changes in administrative structures and positions in Swedish universities over time, and analyse the relation to management as well as implications for academic activity. In the first part of the project, we empirically analyse the creation and expansion of administrative units and positions through document analysis of university directories. In the second part, we analyse how new administrative practices and ideals get embodied into the organization and lead to various degrees of coupling between the means and the ends of the organization. We develop ideas from organizational institutional theory to explain the influence of administration practices, and to theorize concepts of decoupling, coupling, and sedimentation of practices and governance. This helps us better understand current pressures on universities and other public organizations to transform into autonomous entities. The project runs over 3 years.

The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council and led by Linda Wedlin. Lars Engwall and Signe Jernberg also participate in the project.

Last modified: 2023-01-30