Marketization, Managerialism and Welfare State Professionalism
Edited by Tanja Klenk and Emmanuele Pavolini
Chapter 11: Higher education professionals facing managerialism: a quantitative international comparison
In the last 30 years Western European higher education systems have faced several reform policies aiming at changing the sector, its institutions, as well as academics’ profession and working conditions. These reforms, their contents, orientation and goals were and are largely rooted and inspired by the neo-liberal agenda. The timing of these policies, their contents, the extent to which they effectively changed higher education systems vary across countries, alongside countries’ variations in implementation of the neo-liberal reforms (Campbell and Pedersen 2001). In some countries, such as the UK and the Netherlands, higher education reforms started earlier and have had a deeper impact while in others, such as Germany and Italy, reforms started later with more questionable consequences on two university systems which are historically similar. Besides differences and variations, higher education reforms in Western European countries also display some common features, so that structural convergence, triggered by processes of institutional isomorphism (DiMaggio and Powell 1991; Meyer and Rowan 1977; Vaira 2008) is detectable. Although with different scopes and intensities, most policy initiatives aiming at reforming higher education have relied on a set of ideas and tools derived from the new public management (NPM) approach – one of the main tools of neo-liberal reform policies in the public sector (Amaral, Meek and Larsen 2003; Paradeise et al. 2009) – and have been strengthened by a strong feeling of mistrust towards universities and academics drawn by the new liberalist ideology and agenda (Amaral, Bleiklie and Musselin 2008; Neave 1996; Trow 1996).
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