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Academic Institutions in Search of Quality: Local Orders and Global Standards

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  • Catherine Paradeise

    (LATTS - Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires et Sociétés - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée (UPEMLV) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - CNRS : UMR8134)

  • Jean-Claude Thoenig

    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine)

Abstract

Quality judgments in terms of academic standards of excellence required by external stakeholders such as labour markets and steering hierarchies obviously exert strong pressure on universities. Do they generate an "iron cage" effect imposing a passive and uniform conformity on global standards? The paper examines the organization of higher education and research set-ups with a strong lens. What does academic quality actually mean when observed in the field? How do universities and their subunits - professional schools, colleges, etc - actually achieve what they call quality? A methodological and analytical framework is tested. Three sociological concepts - diversity, recognition, local order - make it possible to build four ideal-types applicable to comparative inquiry. Such a typology identifies the interdependencies existing between how they position themselves with respect to quality dimensions and internal organizational measures. The paper contributes to a broader organizational study agenda: how local orders face and deal with market and hierarchy dynamics in a global world of apparently increasing standardization under pressure from soft power. It questions the effect of the "iron cage" hypothesis. It lists a series of changing patterns or dynamics between types of universities in terms of quality sensitivity, fabrication and content. Diversity and standardization in fact coexist.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00871625.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Publication status: Published, Organization Studies, 2013, 34, 2, 189-218
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00871625

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00871625
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Related research

Keywords: Local orders; academic quality; global standardization; ideal-type approaches; organizational diversity;

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  1. Maria Nedeva & Rebecca Boden, 2006. "Changing Science: The Advent of Neo-liberalism," Prometheus, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(3), pages 269-281.
  2. Edward Lorenz, 2001. "Models of Cognition, the Contextualisation of Knowledge and Organisational Theory," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 307-330, September.
  3. Durand, Thomas & Dameron, Stéphanie, 2011. "Where Have All the Business Schools Gone?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/8445, Paris Dauphine University.
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