This chapter provides an overview of the findings and chapters of a thematic volume in the International Perspectives on Education and Society (IPES) series. It describes…
This chapter provides an overview of the findings and chapters of a thematic volume in the International Perspectives on Education and Society (IPES) series. It describes the common dataset and methods used by an international research team.
The chapter synthesizes the results of a series of country-level case studies and cross-national and regional comparisons on the growth of scientific research from 1900 until 2011. Additionally, the chapter provides a quantitative analysis of global trends in scientific, peer-reviewed publishing over the same period.
The introduction identifies common themes that emerged across the case studies examined in-depth during the multi-year research project Science Productivity, Higher Education, Research and Development and the Knowledge Society (SPHERE). First, universities have long been and are increasingly the primary organizations in science production around the globe. Second, the chapters describe in-country and cross-country patterns of competition and collaboration in scientific publications. Third, the chapters describe the national policy environments and institutionalized organizational forms that foster scientific research.
The introduction reviews selected findings and limitations of previous bibliometric studies and explains that the chapters in the volume address these limitations by applying neo-institutional theoretical frameworks to analyze bibliometric data over an extensive period.
The paper sets forth and examines the assumptions underlying two global ideas – world class and best practices – and their application to (higher) education and health…
The paper sets forth and examines the assumptions underlying two global ideas – world class and best practices – and their application to (higher) education and health organizations. Our basic (ex-ante) assumption is that both sectors are influenced by organizational fields that embody these ideas. However, we also assume that these sectors differ, and thus, that one should find between sector variations in the influence of such ideas. The findings suggest that both sectors have been affected by hegemonic ideas, yet in rather different ways, and that these ideas, particularly the metrics being used, pose different challenges in the two sectors.
Media characterizations of the state of higher education in America often seem bipolar. They emphasize either the accomplishments of the most successful elite schools or…
Media characterizations of the state of higher education in America often seem bipolar. They emphasize either the accomplishments of the most successful elite schools or the failures of colleges that are beset by problems and falling behind the performance of schools in other developed societies. A more complete understanding of higher education is obtained by embracing an organization field perspective, which recognizes the multiplicity of schools that exist – their varying origins, missions, structures, and performance metrics. This diversity is concretized by focusing on the evolving characteristics of colleges in one metropolitan region: the San Francisco Bay Area. The field perspective also calls attention to the support and governance systems that surround colleges and account for much of the stability of the field.
Organization fields are shaped by both isomorphic and competitive processes. Isomorphic processes have been dominant for many years, but now competitive processes are in ascendance. All fields are embedded in wider societal structures, and the field of higher education is richly connected in modern societies with the economic, stratification, and political spheres. Some of these interdependences reinforce within-field processes, some recast them, and still others disrupt them. The appearance of new technologies, new types of students, and changing work requirements have begun to unsettle traditional field structures and processes and encourage the development of new modes of organizing. Over time, the dominant professional mode of organizing higher education is being undercut and, in many types of colleges, supplanted by one based on market forces and managerial logics.
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.
Recent developments in neuroscience have generated great expectations in the education world globally. However, building a bridge between brain science and education has…
Recent developments in neuroscience have generated great expectations in the education world globally. However, building a bridge between brain science and education has been hard. Educational researchers and practitioners more often than not hold unrealistic images of neuroscience, some naively positive and others blindly negative. Neuroscientist looking at how the brain reacts and changes during mental tasks involving reading or mathematics usually discuss education as some constant and undifferentiated “social environment” of the brain, either assuming it to be a “black box” or evoking an image of perfect schooling and full access to it. In this review, we claim that a more productive and realistic relationship between neuroscience and the comparative study of education can be thought about in terms of the hypothesis that formal education is having a significant role in the cognitive and neurological development of human populations around the world. We review research that supports this hypothesis and implications for future studies.
Following the spirit of an earlier volume in the series focusing on ‘Comparative Approaches to Organizational Research’, the mandate of the current volume is to provide a…
Following the spirit of an earlier volume in the series focusing on ‘Comparative Approaches to Organizational Research’, the mandate of the current volume is to provide a comparative account of dynamics across two organizational fields – health care and higher education – and, subsequently, two specific types of organizational forms – hospitals and universities. In so doing, we take a broader perspective encompassing various conceptual and theoretical points of departure emanating from, mostly, the institutional literature in the social sciences (and its various perspectives), but also from public policy and administration literatures – of relevance to scholars and the communities of practice working within either field. In this introductory paper to the volume, we provide a brief overview of developments across the two organizational fields and illuminate on the most important scholarly traditions underpinning the study of both system dynamics as a whole as well as universities and hospitals as organizations and institutions. We conclude by reflecting on the implication of the volume’s key findings in regards to comparative research within organizational studies.
Facing intense global competition and pressure from public authorities, several universities in Europe have engaged in merger and concentration processes. Drawing on two…
Facing intense global competition and pressure from public authorities, several universities in Europe have engaged in merger and concentration processes. Drawing on two in-depth case studies, this paper considers university mergers as an opportunity to explore the processes involved in the creation of a new organizational structure. In line with recent scholarly calls to revisit the notion of organizational design, we combine insights from three different research streams to address the functional, political, and institutional dynamics that shaped the organizational architecture of the merged universities. Two main results are presented and discussed. First, although these mergers were initiated largely in response to the diffusion of new global institutional scripts, these scripts had little influence on organizational design: deeply institutionalized local scripts prevailed over global mimetic pressures. Second, while these institutional scripts provided many of the basic building blocks of the new universities, in both cases their design was also heavily shaped by time pressures and power games. While a few powerful actors used the merger as an opportunity to promote their own reform agenda, some of the key features of the two merged universities stemmed from choices by exclusion, whose primary aim was the avoidance of conflicts.
Close interaction between universities, industries, and governments has given rise to hybrid organizations incorporating economic development alongside scientific research…
Close interaction between universities, industries, and governments has given rise to hybrid organizations incorporating economic development alongside scientific research and higher education. We will approach this phenomenon and the related organization-theoretical problems by looking at two cases of discipline making to discuss the potential of the concept of organizational field introduced by the neoinstitutionalist school of organization theory. As this concept presumes the Bourdieusian theory of social fields, we will consider possibilities of reflective contesting of the states of doxa in discipline making in regard to organizational aspects of disciplinary boundaries in the university-centered system of higher education, its demarcation to business and schooling, as well as to the related ideology of professionalism and science policy. We will also comment on the Bourdieusian conceptuality inscribed in the neoinstitutionalist metaphor of organizational field from the perspective of systems theory inspired by Luhmann. This is because we believe that further development of the semantic focus in the problem of disciplinary boundaries would benefit from Luhmannian tools designed to grasp organizations as social systems that facilitate interrelations of differentiated function systems relevant for discipline making in current technoscience.
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.