Citation

Between academic oligarchy and the free market: Hybrid visions of higher education governance in Poland

Abstract | Word Stems | Keywords | Association | Citation | Similar Titles



Abstract:

In the past two decades, lines of authority in higher education across the globe have been undergoing rapid transition (Pusser, 2008). As universities are subjected to increasing pressure to fuel the growth of the new knowledge economy, they face competing visions of what constitutes appropriate higher education governance (Vaira, 2004). Debate over governance reform has been especially fierce in Poland, where the model of “academic oligarchy” took deep roots in the course of post-communist transition. After five decades of totalitarian rule, universities across the region returned to a traditional mode of governance dominated by collective bodies with no accountability to external stakeholders. Under pressures of rapid massification and the growing significance of universities as engines of the economy, the government and academics now agree that the governance model needs reform. There is no such agreement on what should change that has so far produced a stalemate in legislative efforts. This study is the first one to examine and analyze the conflicting narratives of good university governance embraced by the two most powerful groups in higher education: policymakers and academic leaders.

The study conceptualizes key stakeholders’ notions of governance as “world images” – patterns of ideas that act as switchmen in determining the tracks of social behavior (Weber, 1991, p. 280). The content of these “world images” is analyzed using Clark’s (1983) classic typology of the three major logics of higher education: state-centered, academic, and market-based. In the state-centered logic, higher education is a vehicle for achieving national goals, and is therefore governed from the top down with heavy process control. The logic of academic oligarchy assumes that higher education exists to produce knowledge, so governance is in the hands of the knowledge producers themselves. In the market-based logic, the goal of higher education is to maximize public and private returns, so it is best governed by professionals directly accountable to stakeholders. Participants’ views on the proper mission and structure of the university were analyzed and mapped out along these three arms of Clark’s (1983) triangle.

The study was conducted using a qualitative approach, with the primary method of elite interviews. Results were subsequently triangulated with information obtained through participant observation and document analysis at each institution in the sample. The sample includes twelve university administrators and senior faculty at four public universities in Poland, and twelve officials involved in shaping the national higher education strategy, including representatives of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Warsaw. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded and analyzed to identify recurrent themes.

The author found that government officials and academic leaders hold distinct notions of governance that are both hybrids of the three major models. Government officials embrace a market-based view of higher education – maximizing public and private returns through managerial efficiency. Yet their perceived way to achieve these goals is characteristic for a state-centered logic: Universities will only become more entrepreneurial and responsive to the market if they are forced to by law. The law, therefore, regulates matters from the composition of the university senate to the methods for selecting a university president.

Academics, on the other hand, hold a mixture of market-based ideas and traditional notions about the pursuit of truth as the main mission of higher education. They see the market as a virus invading higher education that must be controlled and lived with, but not given in to. While the policymakers’ ideal university is a research institution in the U.S. or Great Britain, the academics’ is the Humboldtian ideal of the past – few students, unity of teaching and research, and governance by academics alone. University leaders realize that a return to this model is not possible, nevertheless it remains at the core of their organizational identity. On the basis of these findings, the study examines factors determining the viability of any future departure from the model of academic oligarchy in Poland.

While changing lines of authority in higher education have been the subject of much study in the U.S. and Eastern Europe, few studies to date have analyzed the issue in post-communist countries that recently joined the European Union. This study attempts to fill that gap in the literature by examining how a post-communist path dependency shapes the scope of possibilities for re-imagining the institutional framework for higher education in the 21st century.
Convention
All Academic Convention can solve the abstract management needs for any association's annual meeting.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

Association:
Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
URL:
http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p706785_index.html
Direct Link:
HTML Code:

MLA Citation:

Shaw, Marta. "Between academic oligarchy and the free market: Hybrid visions of higher education governance in Poland" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 10, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p706785_index.html>

APA Citation:

Shaw, M. A. , 2014-03-10 "Between academic oligarchy and the free market: Hybrid visions of higher education governance in Poland" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p706785_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In the past two decades, lines of authority in higher education across the globe have been undergoing rapid transition (Pusser, 2008). As universities are subjected to increasing pressure to fuel the growth of the new knowledge economy, they face competing visions of what constitutes appropriate higher education governance (Vaira, 2004). Debate over governance reform has been especially fierce in Poland, where the model of “academic oligarchy” took deep roots in the course of post-communist transition. After five decades of totalitarian rule, universities across the region returned to a traditional mode of governance dominated by collective bodies with no accountability to external stakeholders. Under pressures of rapid massification and the growing significance of universities as engines of the economy, the government and academics now agree that the governance model needs reform. There is no such agreement on what should change that has so far produced a stalemate in legislative efforts. This study is the first one to examine and analyze the conflicting narratives of good university governance embraced by the two most powerful groups in higher education: policymakers and academic leaders.

The study conceptualizes key stakeholders’ notions of governance as “world images” – patterns of ideas that act as switchmen in determining the tracks of social behavior (Weber, 1991, p. 280). The content of these “world images” is analyzed using Clark’s (1983) classic typology of the three major logics of higher education: state-centered, academic, and market-based. In the state-centered logic, higher education is a vehicle for achieving national goals, and is therefore governed from the top down with heavy process control. The logic of academic oligarchy assumes that higher education exists to produce knowledge, so governance is in the hands of the knowledge producers themselves. In the market-based logic, the goal of higher education is to maximize public and private returns, so it is best governed by professionals directly accountable to stakeholders. Participants’ views on the proper mission and structure of the university were analyzed and mapped out along these three arms of Clark’s (1983) triangle.

The study was conducted using a qualitative approach, with the primary method of elite interviews. Results were subsequently triangulated with information obtained through participant observation and document analysis at each institution in the sample. The sample includes twelve university administrators and senior faculty at four public universities in Poland, and twelve officials involved in shaping the national higher education strategy, including representatives of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Warsaw. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded and analyzed to identify recurrent themes.

The author found that government officials and academic leaders hold distinct notions of governance that are both hybrids of the three major models. Government officials embrace a market-based view of higher education – maximizing public and private returns through managerial efficiency. Yet their perceived way to achieve these goals is characteristic for a state-centered logic: Universities will only become more entrepreneurial and responsive to the market if they are forced to by law. The law, therefore, regulates matters from the composition of the university senate to the methods for selecting a university president.

Academics, on the other hand, hold a mixture of market-based ideas and traditional notions about the pursuit of truth as the main mission of higher education. They see the market as a virus invading higher education that must be controlled and lived with, but not given in to. While the policymakers’ ideal university is a research institution in the U.S. or Great Britain, the academics’ is the Humboldtian ideal of the past – few students, unity of teaching and research, and governance by academics alone. University leaders realize that a return to this model is not possible, nevertheless it remains at the core of their organizational identity. On the basis of these findings, the study examines factors determining the viability of any future departure from the model of academic oligarchy in Poland.

While changing lines of authority in higher education have been the subject of much study in the U.S. and Eastern Europe, few studies to date have analyzed the issue in post-communist countries that recently joined the European Union. This study attempts to fill that gap in the literature by examining how a post-communist path dependency shapes the scope of possibilities for re-imagining the institutional framework for higher education in the 21st century.


Similar Titles:
Competing visions of higher education governance in Poland

A false prosperity: an evaluation of changing governance in Chinese higher education under state-dominated marketization

A Free Academic Community: Racial Harassment Policy in Higher Education


 
All Academic, Inc. is your premier source for research and conference management. Visit our website, www.allacademic.com, to see how we can help you today.