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Universities need leadership, academics need management: discursive tensions and voids in the deregulation of Swedish higher education legislation
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4663-9913
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5479-2563
2018 (English)In: Higher Education, ISSN 0018-1560, E-ISSN 1573-174X, Vol. 75, no 2, p. 299-321Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Inthisarticle,wediscusshow‘managerialist’and‘leaderist’discourses(O’Reillyand Reed Public Administration 88:960–978, 2010; Organization Studies 32:1079–1101, 2011) are drawn upon in the context of the deregulation of Swedish higher education. As of 2011, there has been new legislation that frames Swedish universities as ‘autonomous’ and transfers most of the regulative responsibilities from the government level to university vice-chancellors. The aim of this article is to inquire into how tensions within and between managerialist and leaderist discourse are handled in the promotion of New Public Management reforms and the conse- quences thereof in terms of how leadership in the higher education sector is constructed. We analyse how these discourses are employed in the core documents leading up to the 2010 Riksdag decision to enact most of the proposed deregulations, and the subsequent evaluation undertaken by the social democratic government that took over in 2014. Based in this analysis, we suggest that the texts indeed draw upon notions of leadership and leaders as necessary for Swedish universities to survive and thrive in the future, but that the envisaged practise of this ‘strong leadership’ can either be characterised as a discursive void or described in terms of de- personalised, instrumental managerial surveillance and control. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2018. Vol. 75, no 2, p. 299-321
Keywords [en]
Highereducation, Deregulation, Leaderism, Managerialism, NewPublic Management, Discourse analysis
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-205686DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0140-2ISI: 000423345100007Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85017203287OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-205686DiVA, id: diva2:1090129
Funder
Riksbankens JubileumsfondVINNOVA
Note

QC 20170425

Available from: 2017-04-22 Created: 2017-04-22 Last updated: 2018-02-07Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full textScopushttp://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10734-017-0140-2

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