The coherent multiversity
2014 (English)In: INCONSISTENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION / [ed] Anne Ellerup Nielsen, Josef Pallas, Lars T. Christiansen, Lee Edwards, Peter Winkler, Lisabon: ECREA , 2014, 1-17 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
The discussion about what we have universities for - and higher education and research in general - is neither new nor settled. Democratic, political, cultural, religious, social and economic considerations and priorities have clearly characterized the university's more than millennial history. Thereby, questions about its purpose, development, structuring and control have been subjected to a wide group of diverse and competing wills and perspective. Both Swedish and international studies show that the perception of universities can be fundamentally linked to the university's shifting position, role and relationships to various historical and societal events and conditions (Maassen & Olsen, 2007). The University exists – can be argued – in a multiple and complex environment characterized by a lack of clarity about how to understand and manage its activities and its identity (Välimaa, Stensaker, & Sarrico, 2012). But the university is not only an object and arena for other actors’ ideas about its purpose and organization. The university is highly active in the reception of the expectations and models that define its activities (Sahlin, 2012). Although many studies (see, for example, Etzkowitz, 2005; Krücken Kosmützky, & Dry, 2007; Sundqvist, 2010) have this complexity as an starting point, we know relatively little about how different beliefs and ideas about university interact, and how they are expressed when they internally get formulated and interpreted inside university organizations on a level (of university presidents, deans and heads of departments) where they can be expected to have a central and performative role for how universities are organized, managed and presented (de Boer & Goedegebuure, 2009). Based on 24 interviews with academic leaders (13 deans, seven heads of departments and 4 research leaders) at Uppsala University (5), University of Gothenburg (9) and Lund University (10), and with a support of a content analysis of strategy documents from 29 Swedish universities and colleges, the paper seeks to illustrate how the idea of the university takes its (diverse?) form in a context where it can be assumed to be indicative of how university organizations understand their own activities.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lisabon: ECREA , 2014. 1-17 p.
University, governance, inconsistency, communication
Media and Communications Business Administration
Research subject Media and Communication Studies; Business Studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-235139OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-235139DiVA: diva2:759145
ECREA's 5th European Communication Conference
FunderSwedish Research Council