National policies as drivers of organizational change in universities: A string of reinforcing reforms

Andreas Kjær Stage, Kaare Aagaard

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Since the turn of the millennium, the Danish university sector has been one of the most intensely reformed in Europe. In parallel, the staff composition of Danish Universities has also changed more than the corresponding compositions in other Western countries. But how direct is the link between the policy reforms and the staff changes? While we expect national policy reforms to have influence on organizational change in universities, we also know that the content and impact of policies often are shaped and modified by global trends as well as local path dependencies. To shed light on this question, this article examines the impact of four major reforms on the staff composition of Danish universities by interpreting long-term staff data at multiple levels. Contrary to the notions of change resistance and path dependency, the empirical analysis suggests that a consistent string of policy reforms has had a profound impact on the Danish universities. However, the analysis also shows that the links between national reforms and actual changes seldom are immediate and straightforward and that the local, national and global levels interact. In doing so they often appear to reinforce the influence of each other.
TidsskriftQuantitative Science Studies
Sider (fra-til)849-871
Antal sider23
StatusUdgivet - 2020


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