Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Third International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Universities and standardization instruments: the willingness to put an end to the organized anarchy
Sarah Croché, Jean Emile Charlier

Last modified: 30-05-2017


Many sociologists have for a long time based their research on the work published in the 1970s, in which universities were regarded as organisations that operate in a particular way. They were approximated to “organised anarchies” (Cohen et al., 1972) or to “loosely coupled systems” (Weick, 1976 ; Orton & Weick, 1990) which were considered host to “unclear technologies” (Cohen & March, 1974). This article call into question these concepts and confront them with the evolution of the piloting way of contemporary establishments of European higher education. The empirical material for this paper comes from the analysis of texts and reforms initiated in European universities. The paper will show the effects of standardization instruments on academic profession and how these instruments (and notably the learning outcomes approach) transform each segment of the university and generate a deep interdependence between all of them.

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