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University Fashions

Listed author(s):
  • Czarniawska, Barbara


    (Gothenburg Research Institute)

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    There is no doubt that in the present well-connected world, universities form an organization field, or perhaps a subfield of field of organizations that produce education. But I am concerned only with that subfield. It is to be expected, therefore, that, as in any other field, isomorphic forces are at work, with imitation or mimetic forces in the fore. As in other fields, what is often imitated has a loose connection to any specific practice, and, as in any other field, one can expect waves of fashion coming and going. The focus on fashion has been daringly extended to managerial practices (usually with negative commentary), and now and then even to research practices. It is now time to extend it to universities – especially to fashions in university management. After the period when ideas about university functioning spread from Europe to the rest of the world came a period when such ideas spread from USA to the rest of the world. It seems that we are about to witness another change of direction – the center moving to Asia. Is the presently declared ”crisis of the university as an institution” the beginning of a new era for the European universities, or is it its end? As the history of the study of fashion amply demonstrates, it is impossible to predict future fashions, but it is possible, and promising, to take a closer look at fashions and their ways of spreading in the global university field of today.

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    Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Research Institute GRI in its series GRI-rapport with number 2011:6.

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    Length: 23 pages
    Date of creation: 09 Nov 2011
    Handle: RePEc:hhb:gungri:2011_006
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    Gothenburg Research Institute, Box 600, SE 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden

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