Organizing Academic Work in Higher Education

Reihe: International Studies in Higher Education

Herausgeber*in(nen): Leišytė, Liudvika & Wilkesmann, Uwe (Hrsg.).
Jahr: 2016
Dokumenttyp: Herausgeberwerk
Publikationstyp(en): Empirisches Dokument
Themen: Governance, Internationalisierung, Lehrende, Organisation
ISBN: 978-1-13890-990-8


The literature on university governance, the academic profession and working conditions, research and research governance, and teaching and learning all contribute to a better understanding of the changes that are taking place at universities, including changes within academic work. Only a few accounts, however, use multi-level analysis to reveal the complexities between changing institutional environment and teaching, learning and academic identities, and the relationship between structure and agency. Further, the communities of higher education studies seem to avoid the connection between organization and the core processes of teaching and learning. The rich literature on teaching and learning is quite often, to a large extent, decoupled from higher education studies that explore organizational transformation and changes in governance of higher education. By focusing on the gap between these studies, we offer a unique perspective on the linkages between the organizational transformation of the university and its teaching, learning and academic identities. Therefore, our aim is to answer the following main research question: How can managers from the organizational side of universities influence teaching, learning, and academic identities? Alternatively, to turn the question around: How can new initiatives in teaching and learning change the organizational structure? To answer this question, we take a closer look at the following three sub-questions: What are interdependences between organizational structures and teaching? What are interdependences between organizational structures and learning? What are interdependences between organizational structures and academic identities? Regarding the first sub-question, we will discuss how organizational structures influence teaching approaches. Have different organizational designs led to a more student- or teacher-focused approach to teaching? Under what circumstances are new initiatives for improving teaching methods successful? What motivates academics to engage in curriculum changes? In comparison to research, teaching is always collective action. You need faculty to deliver a study programme. As a consequence, managing teaching is much more of a main task for the organization than conducting and managing research. The interdependence between the organizational structure and teaching is highly important but is neglected in the literature. The second sub-question focuses on the interdependence between the organizational structure and learning. The teaching-learning nexus can only be analysed under structural conditions. Does the organizational environment put pressure on academics? If so, will they pass the pressure along to the students? How will students then react? What are the organizational prerequisites for establishing a long-term learning process? Under what organizational conditions can new digital teaching methods change students’ learning outcomes? The third question addresses the relation between organizational conditions and academic identities. Academic identities have traditionally been linked with disciplines and related to the main academic roles of teaching and research. University managers across the globe have increasingly started to use performance indicators, which may multiply or marginalize academic roles. Furthermore, with increasingly blurring organizational boundaries, the duality between disciplinary academic and organizational identities can shrink. However, we know little of what the organizational demands for productivity and multiplication of roles in different disciplines mean for the concepts of self from the international perspective. How do changing working conditions and blurring organizational boundaries affect academic identity?


Leišytė, Liudvika & Wilkesmann, Uwe (Hrsg.). (2016). Organizing Academic Work in Higher Education. Teaching, learning and identities. s.l.: Taylor & Francis. Abgerufen von:

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