Institutional change in the Irish university 2008-2014: an examination through the lens of institutional logics
Gannon, Anne Margaret
University College Cork
Institutional change is an important research area in the context of the evolution of the Irish university sector. 2008-2014 was an eventful period in bringing about changes within the sector. Drivers of transformation led by the state during this time arose from two distinct sources; developments in government policy within the university sector and the impact of the economic recession. This study focuses on institutional change within the Irish university at both the meso level where the academic discipline is located and the micro levels where the experiences of individual academic professionals are examined. Institutional logics comprise the theoretical lens used in this study. In analysing institutional change, three specific institutional logics are identified and examined; representing the societal sectors of the state (the government logic), the business corporation (the corporate logic) and the academic profession (the professional logic). The development of a theoretical framework enables a comprehensive examination of i) the formal structural and regulative dimension and ii) the normative and cultural dimension comprising these three separate institutional logics in the university at both the meso and micro levels between 2008 and 2014. Through application of a comparative case study approach across three Irish universities, this research study asserts that the government and corporate logic aligned strongly during this six-year period against the backdrop of the strong economic and ideological drivers present in the institutional field influencing change. These influences were significant across all the universities at both the meso and the micro levels. With the strengthening of the structural and regulative infrastructure developed by the corporate logic in conjunction with the formal dimensions of the government logic, the capacity for professional logic to withstand the new structural and regulative environment deteriorates. This pattern is evident at both the meso and the micro levels within the structural and regulative dimension. However, within the cultural and normative dimension, despite institutional change, the impact on the professional logic is different. Here while there is some weakening of professional values, practices and behaviours at both the meso level and the micro level, these are not uniformly experienced across all the case study universities. The research asserts that institutional change experienced within the cultural and normative dimension of the professional logic will vary at the micro level according to the ability of the professional academic to withstand the influence of government and corporate norms, practices and values and to continue to exercise professional values, identity and practices.
University reform , Institutional change , Institutional logics , Public sector reform , Irish university sector , Government policy developments in Ireland
Gannon, A. M. 2019. Institutional change in the Irish university 2008-2014: an examination through the lens of institutional logics. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.