Managing excellence and identities: Challenges in academic careers at Swiss universities


Increasing competition in the academic landscape (Titscher et al.; 2000:34; Kopp, 2004: 313) has led to a change process within academia in general and also within the Swiss university sector. For a long time, universities have been considered „Republics of Scholars“ (Stensaker, 2012:4). Since the 90ties and the rise of New Public Management (NPM), universities are continuously transformed into entrepreneurial (Clark, 1988) and managed organizations with a growing emphasis on entrepreneurial spirit and economic benefit (Chandler, Barry & Clark, 2002 Deem, Hillyard & Reed, 2008). Thus, universities become pluralistic organizations (Schedler 2003, 2012; 2013;) in which different discourses are being negotiated. Purely scientific discourses do not seem to be underrated any longer and are being supplemented with economical discourses when striving to survive within the „Olympus of excellent universities“. These developments have led to the fact that the economic discourse has become important not only for the university’s governance, but also for junior scientists’ career development.
This research project scrutinizes three distinctive research questions. The first research issue deals with the different concepts of excellence that are made relevant within Swiss higher education in order to identify the challenges in academic career management. As universities are pluralistic organizations, there is not just one, but multiple understandings of what excellence could be. Hence it is important to empirically investigate how excellence is conceptualized and what its specific effects are. Based on the findings with regard to this first research question, the second research question determines the effects these excellence discourses have on the junior scientists: How do these excellence discourses generate junior scientist subjectivities? The aim is to understand in what respects excellence discourses have a subjectifying effect, and how junior scientists position themselves against these different kinds of excellency discourses. The goal is to use these two analytical steps to analyze what challenges arise from the two above questions for the university management in order to facilitate the creation of a career management for junior scientists.

Additional Informations


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Commencement Date2015
Contributors Borra, Carolina (Project Worker)
Datestamp 16 Mar 2016 15:34
Institute/School OPSY - Research Institute for Organizational Psychology
HSG Profile Area None
Keywords Higher education management, junior scientists career management, discourse theory
Methods Diskursanalyse
Id 247213
Project Range Institute/School
Project Status ongoing
Subjects business studies
Topics Managing excellence and identities in the Swiss higher education system
Project Type dissertation project
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