Mission Diversity and Reputation in Higher Education

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Dono: Marcos Pedroso

Versão: 1.0

Última Atualiz.: 06-11-2018 11:36

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In this contribution both the literature and the present-day policies regarding
diversity in higher education systems will be discussed. The first part presents an
overview of the theoretical and empirical studies on differentiation and diversity.
Based on this, a conceptual framework is presented, which intends to explain the
processes of differentiation and dedifferentiation in higher education systems. Two
crucial variables are identified, and both have a crucial impact on the behaviour of
higher education institutions: the level of uniformity in the environment of higher
education institutions and the level of influence of academic norms and values in
these institutions. The second part of this contribution focuses on current higher
education policies. Hoping to create better and stronger contributions by higher
education institutions to the ‘knowledge society’, many governments nowadays
develop policies of less state control and more autonomy. It will be argued that
these policies do not automatically lead to more diversity in higher education
systems. The reason for this is simply that markets work imperfectly in higher
education systems and that the behaviour of higher education institutions is
triggered by competition for reputation, a process producing several unintended
consequences. In this latter context the recent rankings and typologies in higher
education are also discussed.

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