Department of Political Science

Danish universities under transformation: developments in staff categories as indicator of organizational change

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Claims of fundamental changes of the organizational model of universities have been widespread during the latest decades. To empirically assess the character and extent of organizational change is however not straightforward. This article contributes with partial, but also very tangible evidence of long-term organizational changes at Danish universities by analyzing detailed data on staff composition and salary distributions. The article shows that Danish universities indeed have undergone significant transformations, but that the full extent of these changes only becomes visible when a fine-grained analytical approach is employed. On the academic side of the organizations, relatively low-wage temporary positions have boomed at the expense of more expensive permanent ones. On the administrative side, specialized and highly educated administrative staff has surged substantially, while less expensive positions such as clerks, technicians, and service staff conversely have diminished in relative terms. Hence, while the analysis supports the overall claims in the literature, it also adds important nuances to the dominant narratives of organizational change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHigher Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2019

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