New Publication in Tertiary Education and Management

Hagerer, I.: It is still about bureaucracy in German faculties

We are happy to announce that Ilse Hagerer’s paper “It is still about bureaucracy in German faculties” was published in Tertiary Education and Management.

Abstract: One of the main discussions in higher education is whether universities have appropriately adapted their structures and processes in response to the New Public Management (NPM) reforms and the Bologna Process. There are no profound empirical investigations on the extent to which faculties take elements of the reforms into account in terms of administrative processes and organizational structure dimensions according to the bureaucracy approach. This article examines how German faculty managers perceive bureaucratization processes by evaluating organizational structure dimensions. For this, we interpret interviews with 16 experts of German faculties through qualitative content analysis to extract in-depth manifestations of these dimensions. Our results show that the dimensions formalization, standardization, specialization, configuration, internal support functions, team self-coordination, and (de)centralization reflect elements of the NPM and Bologna reforms in the perception of faculty staff. These dimensions are complemented by decoupling mechanisms, i.e., discrepancies between formal structure and common practice, which hinder reform implementation. Besides, we identify elements of post-NPM approaches like network governance and neo-Weberianism supplementing reform implementation. We highlight (dys)functional effects of the dimensions by assessing them with criteria of effectiveness. Our results foster a deeper understanding of faculty organization by demonstrating levels of bureaucratization using profound examples of the interviewed persons.

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