Universities in both North America and Europe are under substantial pressure. We draw on the papers in this volume to describe those pressures and explore their consequences from an organizational standpoint. Building on the institutional logics perspective, field theories, world society theory, resource dependence, and organizational design scholarship, these papers show how the changing relationship between the state and higher education, cultural shifts, and broad trends toward globalization have led to financial pressures on universities and intensified competition among them. Universities have responded to these pressures by cutting costs, becoming more entrepreneurial, increasing administrative control, and expanding the use of rationalized tools for management. Collectively, these reactions are reshaping the field(s) of higher education and increasing stratification within and across institutions. While universities have thus far proven remarkably adaptive to these pressures, they may be reaching the limits of how much they can adapt without seriously compromising their underlying missions.
Much has been analyzed regarding the origins and the impact of rankings and metrics on policies, behaviors, and missions of universities. Surprisingly, little attention…
Much has been analyzed regarding the origins and the impact of rankings and metrics on policies, behaviors, and missions of universities. Surprisingly, little attention has been allocated to describing and analyzing the emergence of metrics as a new action field. This industry, fueled by the “new public management” policy perspectives that operate at the backstage of the contemporary pervasive “regime of excellence,” still remains a black box worth exploring in depth. This paper intends to fill this loophole. It first sets the stage for this new action field by stressing the differences between the policy fields of higher education in the United States and Europe, as a way to understand the specificities of the use of metrics and rankings on both continents. The second part describes the actors of the field, which productive organizations they build, what skills they combine, which products they put on the market, and their shared norms and audiences.
The United States has been at the forefront of a global shift away from direct state funding of higher education and toward student loans, and student debt has become an issue of growing social concern. Why did student loans expand so much in the United States in the 1990s and 2000s? And how does organization theory suggest their expansion, and the growth of federal student aid more generally, might affect higher education as a field? In the 1960s and 1970s, policy actors worked to solve what was then a central problem around student loans: banks’ disinterest in lending to students. They did this so well that by 1990, a new field of financial aid policy emerged, in which all major actors had an interest in expanding loans. This, along with a favorable environment outside the field, set the stage for two decades of rapid growth. Organization theory suggests two likely consequences of this expansion of federal student loans and financial aid more generally. First, while (public) colleges have become less dependent on state governments and more dependent on tuition, the expansion of aid means colleges are simultaneously becoming more dependent on the federal government, which should make them more susceptible to federal demands for accountability. Second, the expansion of federal student aid should encourage the spread of forms and practices grounded in a logic focused on students’ financial value to the organization, such as publicly traded for-profit colleges and enrollment management practices.
France has a long tradition of research on labor and employment issues dating back to the emergence of the “Social Question” in the 1830s. Yet, the field identified as…
France has a long tradition of research on labor and employment issues dating back to the emergence of the “Social Question” in the 1830s. Yet, the field identified as industrial relations (IR) emerged slowly in France and has not achieved the institutional status it did in Anglo-Saxon countries. French universities have no IR departments and there are no academic journals with IR on the title. Teaching takes place within different disciplines and research produces an abundant literature, which does not always claim the IR label.
The concept of “industrial relations”, translated as “relations professionnelles”, started to be used in France only after World War II (WWII). The terms commonly used both before WWII and even nowadays alongside IR are “relations du travail” (labor relations) or “relations sociales” (social relations). Even though “industrial relations” might not always be the label used, a distinctive French IR tradition exists nonetheless which this paper identifies and presents.
The paper starts with the forerunners at the origins of the field of IR in France, high ranking civil servants who played a role not only in the development of French but even of international industrial relations, and represented a “problem-solving” approach to IR. The emergence of IR as a field of research with a self-recognized academic community bent on “science building”, however, mostly followed the evolution of IR practice in France in the post-WWII period, which the paper then analyzes, presenting the IR milieu in France through its research structures, theoretical debates and challenging prospects.
This research paper aims to better understand the network structure of higher education in North America. It draws on a relationally networked dataset of 1,292…
This research paper aims to better understand the network structure of higher education in North America. It draws on a relationally networked dataset of 1,292 degree-granting colleges and universities in North America to develop a modularity class approach to categorizing colleges and universities based on their own self-defined peer networks and assesses the utility of the modularity class approach as well as several measures of network centrality for predicting offerings of new curricular fields. Results show that not all measures of network centrality equally predict organizational change outcomes, with hub/authority position being most important. Additionally, results show that an empirically derived modularity class approach to categorizing organizations has important strengths in relation to more typical approaches based on prestige or perceived organizational characteristics. The approaches detailed in this paper will be useful for future analysts seeking to explain the spread of innovations and behavior across the higher education institutional field, as well as those seeking to understand clustering and organizational divergence.
The University of California at Berkeley now delivers more to the public of California than it ever has, and it does this on the basis of proportionally less funding by…
The University of California at Berkeley now delivers more to the public of California than it ever has, and it does this on the basis of proportionally less funding by the State government than it has ever received. This claim may come as a surprise, since it is often said that Berkeley is in the process of privatizing, becoming less of a public university and more in the service of private interests. To the contrary, as the State’s commitment to higher education and social-welfare programs has declined, UC Berkeley has struggled to preserve and even expand its public role, while struggling simultaneously to retain its competitive excellence as a research university. This paper delineates how UC Berkeley has striven to retain its public character in the face of severe financial pressures. A summary of the indicators invoked can be found in the Table near the end of the text. This paper then addresses the sustainability and generalizability of the Berkeley strategy.