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Conformity or creativity: The strategic responses of Canadian social science faculties to research planning

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Abstract:

Since the late 1990s Canada’s federal government has adopted an enhanced role in regard to university research. New agencies and programs such as the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) were established, requiring producing strategic research plans to be eligible for funding. Commentators suggest that the nature of research planning in universities has changed, influenced by the federal research priorities (Cameron 2004; Shanahan and Jones 2007). The goal of this study was to understand how research planning has been conducted and how it has changed previous organizational practices. This study draws on institutional theory, focusing particularly on the agency of organizations facing institutional pressures (Powell 1988; DiMaggio and Powell 1991; Oliver 1991, Scott 2008). The requirements of federal research programs on universities can be framed as an example of a coercive institutional process, which occurs when powerful external agencies impose or alter norms on organizations. This study involved two main methods and data sources. First, a content analysis of the institutional strategic research plans of 27 Canadian research-intensive universities was carried out. Second, semi-structured telephone interviews (N=34) were conducted with senior administrators from the 27 Faculties in 10 universities. The findings suggest specific impacts among social science Faculties that set them apart from other academic units. Such Faculties are increasingly under pressure to generate research inputs and to provide measurable evidence of research productivity following the norms and standards that apply in the science and engineering Faculties. Developing a “stronger research culture” emerges as a recurrent theme, which relates to a narrow set of objectives and conceptions of academic research.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492300_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Tamtik, Merli. and Sa, Creso. "Conformity or creativity: The strategic responses of Canadian social science faculties to research planning" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Apr 30, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492300_index.html>

APA Citation:

Tamtik, M. and Sa, C. , 2011-04-30 "Conformity or creativity: The strategic responses of Canadian social science faculties to research planning" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492300_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Since the late 1990s Canada’s federal government has adopted an enhanced role in regard to university research. New agencies and programs such as the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) were established, requiring producing strategic research plans to be eligible for funding. Commentators suggest that the nature of research planning in universities has changed, influenced by the federal research priorities (Cameron 2004; Shanahan and Jones 2007). The goal of this study was to understand how research planning has been conducted and how it has changed previous organizational practices. This study draws on institutional theory, focusing particularly on the agency of organizations facing institutional pressures (Powell 1988; DiMaggio and Powell 1991; Oliver 1991, Scott 2008). The requirements of federal research programs on universities can be framed as an example of a coercive institutional process, which occurs when powerful external agencies impose or alter norms on organizations. This study involved two main methods and data sources. First, a content analysis of the institutional strategic research plans of 27 Canadian research-intensive universities was carried out. Second, semi-structured telephone interviews (N=34) were conducted with senior administrators from the 27 Faculties in 10 universities. The findings suggest specific impacts among social science Faculties that set them apart from other academic units. Such Faculties are increasingly under pressure to generate research inputs and to provide measurable evidence of research productivity following the norms and standards that apply in the science and engineering Faculties. Developing a “stronger research culture” emerges as a recurrent theme, which relates to a narrow set of objectives and conceptions of academic research.


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