Managing the University in Transition
Chapter 7: Organisational Structure and Management Style
7.1 ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE Let us start our discussion on the management of the third generation university (3GU) by looking at its organisational structure. Traditionally, the activities of a university are carried out by faculties that address a certain scientiﬁc discipline, according to Aristotelian logic and its expansions. We saw however that most research nowadays is multidisciplinary or even transdisciplinary, whereby the research and development (R&D) activities are focused on subjects that involve scientists, engineers and designers of several disciplines. The teams that carry out transdisciplinary research organise themselves in cross-faculty teams, that is, teams consisting of members from diﬀerent faculties and often from diﬀerent universities and increasingly including non-university members too. This creates a matrix structure: the team members belong to the faculty, but work in the team that is an entity on its own with its own source of income (Figure 7.1). Matrix structures in general signal a transitional phase as the new structure has not yet created enough conﬁdence to replace the old, while the old structure, or rather its leaders, still ﬁght for their survival. A matrix structure is unstable because it is based on conﬂicting principles, in this case discipline-based versus subject-based research and education. This often results in conﬂicts that take a disproportionate amount of time to resolve and that take energy away from the job to be done. There is a trend now for cross-faculty teams to acquire a status of their own and this may show...
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