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Cipes and Universidade do Porto


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Title: Cipes and Universidade do Porto

Embedding libraries in learning and research
27th IATUL Annual Conference 22-25 May 2006
Alberto Amaral
Cipes and Universidade do Porto
The University, a multi-secular institution
Many of us will remember that Clark Kerr (1982),
examining Western World institutions already
established in 1520 and still existing today in a
recognisable form, performing similar activities
without interruption, counted some 85
institutions including the Catholic Church, the
Parliaments of the Island of Man, Iceland and
Great Britain, some Swiss cantons and 70
IATUL, 2006

This long permanence of the University is
explained in terms of some of its
characteristics, all of them related to the fact
that knowledge is its core business
The power of professional experts
Organisational fragmentation in terms of
disciplinary areas
IATUL, 2006
The extreme diffusion of the decision making
The authority lies at the bottom, with
professional academics

Over the last few decades, the University is
being faced with new and more demanding
Globalisation and New Right policies are having
considerable effect upon education
IATUL, 2006
The development of the secondary welfare state
was coterminous with the movement of higher
education systems towards massification in many
European countries.
The legitimacy crisis of the welfare state.
Changes in the traditional implicit pact between
the University and society.
IATUL, 2006
There are changes in ideology and of values, and
in the relationship between higher education
institutions and the state.
The market emerged as the solution of all these
The University, that place of free and open
debate about societal problems has been rather
uncritical of the impact of these processes on
its own nature and development.
Does this attitude result from loss of the
Universitys social capital (Dill 1995) or from
the dilution of society (Porter 1999)? Or is it a
sign of the absenteeism referred by Gramsci?
Indifference is actually the mainspring of
history. But in a negative sense. What comes
to pass does so not much because a few people
want it to happen, as because the mass of
citizens abdicates their responsibility and let
things be. The fatality that seems to
dominate history is precisely the illusory
appearance of this indifference, of this
absenteeism. (Gramsci 1977 17)
IATUL, 2006
Globalisation and higher education
Starting in 1944 with the Bretton Woods
conference where the World Bank (WB) and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) were
established, and being reinforced by the
Washington consensus and the contribution of the
World Trade Organization (WTO), national trade
barriers were progressively removed and a global
economy emerged.
It is in some way fascinating that some economic
ideas that are en vogue today were developed in
the XVIIIth and early XIXth centuries. Adam Smith
(1723-1790) is credited with the idea of the
invisible hand of the market and David Ricardo
(1772-1823) was the first proponent and paladin
of unrestricted trade and free commerce.
IATUL, 2006
Globalisation and higher education
Education is today considered more as an
indispensable ingredient for economic competition
and less as a social right, and it is becoming
progressively a service students are
considered consumers and asked to pay higher
Governments exert strong pressures over
institutions to make them more responsive to
outside demands and to ensure that education and
research are relevant for the national economy.
IATUL, 2006
The market rationale includes a demand-driven
orientation, introducing short cycles and
emphasis on vocationalization. The Bologna
process places strong emphasis on the
contribution of higher education to the
employability of graduates and to European
Globalisation and higher education
The market was supposed to heal the wounds caused
by the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of state
control, and by the weak managerial capacity of
elected rectors and public services.
Institutions should become more flexible, more
autonomous to respond to changes in the
organisational environment.
IATUL, 2006
Economic globalisation has increased the role
played by market mechanisms in the provision,
steering and organisation of higher education.
Globalisation and higher education
In recent years a new phenomenon emerged in the
higher education context, the borderless higher
education or transnational higher education.
There is not a unanimously accepted definition of
these terms.
Whatever the definition, it seems that pure
e-learning did not meet the expectations of
explosive growth.
Ryan attributes low student enrolments (with
exceptions such as University of Phoenix Online
and University of Maryland University College) to
a number of factors, the first two being employer
reluctance to accept the quality of online
programmes and the apparent resistance by many
students to the notion of exclusively online
IATUL, 2006
Globalisation and higher education
However, franchised curricula and overseas campi
continue to develop very fast in borderless
higher education. This raises problems of
consumer protection associated with lack of
adequate information available to the potential
students, employers and recognition authorities.
There is need to eliminate rogue providers,
degree mills and bogus institutions.
Some organisations (UNESCO, Council of Europe)
produced codes of good practice and countries
that are exporters of higher education (US, UK,
Australia) established codes of ethical and/or
good practice for the assurance of academic
quality in the provision of education to foreign
students. Those countries want to ensure that the
behaviour of their national institutions does not
tarnish the reputation of the countrys higher
education system, which could forsake new market
IATUL, 2006
Globalisation and higher education
Another development was the movement, under the
leadership of the US and the support of some
English speaking countries, to include higher
education in the GATS trade agreements, which
would make education a service that could be sold
across national borders without any barriers.
The recent attitude of the European Union of
excluding higher education from the agreements
has stalled this initiative
IATUL, 2006
It remains to be seen how long this attitude of
the Commission will last, as it contradicts the
European intention of becoming a competitor of
the US, Japan and Australia in the fast
developing international higher education market.
The increasing role of the market
Over the last two decades, markets assumed an
increasing importance in the regulation of the
public sector as neo-liberal politicians regard
competition as the solution to reform the
sclerotic behaviour of public services by
forcing them to increase their efficiency.
Governments are more and more testing the
introduction of market-like mechanisms as
instruments of public regulation.
IATUL, 2006
The Bologna Declaration by redefining the nature
and content of academic programmes, is
transforming what were once state monopolies over
academic degrees into competitive international
The increasing role of the market
A quasi-market is in operation when goods or
services, instead of being bought by their final
users, are bought by an agent (in general a
public agent) on behalf of clients to whom these
goods and services are then allocated directly.
The efficient use of market regulation presents a
number of problems.
IATUL, 2006
For the allocation of goods and services to be
optimally efficient for the larger society
(Leslie and Johnson 1974), the market needs to be
perfectly competitive, which implies a number of
conditions that are very difficult to fulfil.
The increasing role of the market
Both government and market regulation may lead to
inefficient action. Non-market or government
failures are related to the fact that sometimes
the government and its agencies are incapable of
perfect performance in designing and implementing
public policy, because of defects of
representative democracy and inefficiencies of
public agencies to produce and to distribute
goods and services.
Market failures are the shortcomings of markets
when confronted with certain goods and
conditions, namely those that show large
externalities as is the case of education. The
concept of externality is used to compare the
social and private benefits of any activity, and
can be technically defined as the benefit
received by society beyond the individual private
IATUL, 2006
The increasing role of the market
As the market is a means of organising the
exchange of goods and services based upon price,
additional social benefits (externalities) will
tend to be ignored, or to be too little taken
into account by market mechanisms..
Other sources of market failures are their
tendency to build monopolies resulting in
inefficient outcomes, or the so called market
imperfections such as prices not reflecting
product scarcities and insufficient or asymmetric
IATUL, 2006
One problem of market competition is that it
needs perfect information by the producers and
the consumers about the relevant characteristics
of the good or service being purchased in order
to work efficiently. For a market to produce
efficient outcomes clients need to make rational
economic choices.
The increasing role of the market

The information problem is very acute in the case
of higher education, which has three simultaneous
a) It is an experience good
b) It is a rare purchase
IATUL, 2006
c) It has very high opting-out costs.
The increasing role of the market
The confluence of the three characteristics of
education legitimates a regulatory hand of the
government to promote consumer protection, and
this includes different forms of information,
such as licensing, accreditation, and information
on the quality of goods and services.
Students lack sufficient information about the
quality of academic institutions or programs to
make discriminating choices as what they need is
the measure of prospective future earnings
provided by alternative academic programmes...
IATUL, 2006
... not peer review evaluation of teaching
processes, nor subjective judgements of the
quality of a curriculum.
The increasing role of the market
Even if this kind of data were available, many
students (or their families) would not use it,
which questions the validity of the rational
economic choices. This is what David Dill calls
the problem of immature consumers.
The problem of immature students is the rationale
for the implementation of quasi-markets, rather
than consumer-oriented markets, for the
distribution of academic programs.
IATUL, 2006
It is assumed that the state trough a government
agency is more capable of protecting the
interests of immature consumers than consumers
The increasing role of the market
Therefore, the state is no longer a provider of
higher education but assumes a role as principal
representing the interests of the consumers by
making contracts with competing institutions.
This creates a quasi-market in which the state
becomes a purchaser of services from independent
providers, which compete with each other in an
internal market.
IATUL, 2006
Government agencies making the purchases in the
name of consumers face the classical
principal-agent dilemma how the principal
government can best motivate the agent
university to perform as the principal would
prefer, taking into account the difficulties in
monitoring the agents activities.
The increasing role of the market
Massy argues the way institutions currently
respond to markets and seek internal
efficiencies, left unchecked, is unlikely to
serve the public good (Massy 2004b 28), a
danger that is exacerbated by excessive
competition or by retrenchment operations.
This forces the state to intervene by changing
the rules of the market to ensure the fulfilment
of its own political objectives (the interfering
IATUL, 2006
That is why governments have been introducing an
increasing number of performance indicators and
measures of academic quality.
The increasing role of the market
Better information is also important for producer
effectiveness Information on the quality of a
product provides an incentive for producers to
invest in quality improvements and thereby better
compete in the market.
Both principals and student consumers may have
imperfect information about the true quality of
academic programmes that is, the value added
they provide to the student and ultimately to
society but, because of the distinctive
properties of universities, the producers may
have imperfect quality information as well.
Because of traditions of academic autonomy and
specialisation, professors may also lack
sufficient information to judge the quality of
academic programmes and may as a consequence fail
to improve them.
IATUL, 2006
New Public Management, governance and loss of
Over the last two decades, the intrusion of the
rhetoric and management practices of the private
sector into higher education resulted in
important changes in the operation of higher
education institutions.
These changes are associated to a movement, from
the public good concept of knowledge to one of
commercialisation and private ownership, that
challenges many traditional academic values, such
as the ideal that knowledge should be free and
IATUL, 2006
Traditional university governance became the
target of fierce criticism, and the multi-secular
tradition of collegial governance is today
considered inefficient. corporative.
New Public Management, governance and loss of
New managerialism exerts strong pressures for
changing the organisation of higher education
institutions, mainly by limiting collegial power
at all institutional levels central
administration, schools and departments. It is
claimed that collegial power promotes and
reproduces corporative instincts that result in
irrational and inefficient decisions.
Only the (partial or total) replacement of the
collegial model by an integrated management model
will transform higher education institutions into
professional organisations oriented towards the
product, with strong emphasis on pursuing
measurable objectives and targets.
IATUL, 2006
New Public Management, governance and loss of
The advocates of new managerialism claim that
the introduction of market mechanisms in the
management of public services would provide
that imperative drive towards operational
efficiency and strategic effectiveness so
conspicuously lacking in the sclerotic
professional monopolies and corporate
bureaucracies that continued to dominate public
Under new public management the public are
clients of government, and administrators should
seek to deliver services that satisfy clients. In
higher education, too, students are referred to
as customers or clients, and in most higher
education systems quality assurance and
accountability measures have been put in place to
ensure that academic provision meets client needs
and expectations.
IATUL, 2006
New Public Management, governance and loss of
Models were imported from the corporate world
trying to replace the slow, inefficient decision
making processes of academic collegiality.
The reinforced presence of external stakeholders
in university governance intends to promote
responsiveness to the external world and
appointed Presidents with sound managerial
curricula are replacing elected academics at the
rudder of the university vessel.
IATUL, 2006
Entrepreneurial values and attitudes are forced
upon the academics and tenure is being abolished
on the grounds that it inhibits the business
New Public Management, governance and loss of
The development of academic capitalism and the
introduction of market-like competition
mechanisms forces professors, departments, and
faculties to increasingly engage in competitive
behaviour similar to the one prevailing in the
marketplace for funding, grants, contracts, and
student selection and funding.
The emergence of the new public management and
the attacks on the efficiency of public services
including higher education resulted in loss of
trust in institutions.
IATUL, 2006
The final result of this process was the
reinforcement of quality assessment mechanisms
and the current move from assessment to
New Public Management, governance and loss of
One consequence of new public management policies
appears to be a strong attack on the professions,
and specifically on the academic profession.
The academy no longer enjoys great prestige on
which higher education can build a successful
claim to political autonomy (Scott 1989). One
observes the gradual proletarisation of the
academic professions an erosion of their
relative class and status advantages (Halsey
1992). Patent policies also made faculty more
like all other worker, making faculty, staff and
students less like university professionals and
more like corporate professionals whose
discoveries are considered work-for-hire, the
property of the corporation, not the professional.
IATUL, 2006
New Public Management, governance and loss of
The de-professionalisation of academics has
been coupled with a claim to professional status
by administrative staff.
Thirty years ago administrators were very much
expected to operate in a subservient supportive
role to the academic community, very much in a
traditional Civil Servant mould (Amaral et al
2003 286) and in the meetings of the academia
they were expected to be seen but not to be
heard. Today, managers for their part see
themselves as essential professional contributors
to the successful functioning of the contemporary
IATUL, 2006
Institutions are increasingly using
micromanagement mechanisms to respond to outside
New Public Management, governance and loss of
Management control technologies include systems
for evaluation and performance measurement of
research, teaching and some administrative
activities, particularly those linked to finance.
The replacement of values associated with
autonomy and academic freedom by criteria of
economic rationality (Miller, 1995 Harley
Lowe, 2003 Slaugther Leslie, 1997), coincides
with closer scrutiny of the performance of
IATUL, 2006
The explicit control of academic work through
evaluation replaces trust in professionalism,
formerly based upon individual self-regulation,
implicit quality criteria and peer review.
New Public Management, governance and loss of
The loss of trust in academics is also related to
the massification process.
The pressures for the direct assessment of the
quality of teaching, arise chiefly out of the
emergence of mass higher education and its
effects on both teachers and students
IATUL, 2006
There is (Trow) a greater emphasis on teaching as
a distinct skill that itself can be taught (and
assessed), and places the student and the process
of learning, rather than the subject, at the
center of the educational enterprise, a
Copernican revolution.
System level and institutional level convergence
At the level of national higher education
systems, similar political reforms seem to be
taking place all over the world. The criticism of
traditional academic norms and values, the
reinforcement of the economic role of higher
education, the emergence of new managerialism or
the professionalisation of institutional
management, the increasing role of external
stakeholders, the diversification of funding
sources and the rolling-back of public funding,
financing becoming increasingly dependent upon
evaluation according to criteria of
performativity linked to economic needs, the
increasing primacy of relevance of teaching and
research, all taken together, compose a common
picture that cannot be explained solely by the
functional, national-cultural or
rationalinstrumental theories that have
dominated the study of education systems or the
curriculum hitherto.
IATUL, 2006
System level and institutional level convergence
World institutionalists developed the argument
that the institutions of the nation-state,
including the state itself, are moulded at a
supranational level by the dominant values and
processes of the Western ideology, rather than
being autonomous and specific national creations.
Others see globalisation as a set of
political-economic arrangements for the
organisation of the global economy, driven by the
need to retain the capitalist system rather than
any set of values.
IATUL, 2006
In industrial advanced countries, adherence to
the new principles of globalisation result from a
pragmatic view of national self interest, a
widespread belief that there is no alternative to
globalisation and by political economic leverage.
System level and institutional level convergence
In developing countries, the stark reality of an
increasing gap separating them from the more
affluent countries and their frequent dramatic
economic situation, places them in the hands of
the Bretton Woods organisations, which condition
international loans to the strict adherence to
free trade and public funding avarice.
To understand the process of international
convergence of higher education systems, one can
ignore neither the dynamics of globalisation and
the hegemony of neo-liberal discourses and
policies (Torres and Schugurensky 2002), nor the
role of national governments in trying to
establish conditions for national prosperity and
inclusion among the winners of the game of
IATUL, 2006
System level and institutional level convergence
Supranational economic forces, reinforced by
capital mobility, contribute to shaping and
constraining those conditions in a greater or
lesser degree, which explains the important
effects of globalisation on national education
On the other hand, the international economic
imperative to remain competitive in the global
market, although playing a major role, does not
fully explain the convergence of higher education
reforms in different societies. It is also
necessary to consider the role of corporate
foundations and supranational institutions in
fostering particular reforms impacting higher
IATUL, 2006
System level and institutional level convergence
Ball (1998) explains the dissemination of these
universal influences internationally using
Levins (1998) medical metaphor and by the
sponsorship or even enforcement of particular
policy solutions by multilateral agencies (Jones
Levin (1988) epidemiological model draws an
analogy between the present education policy
transfers and the spread of a disease, where
international experts, policy entrepreneurs, and
representatives of organisations selling
tailor-made miraculous solutions for national
problems are the analogues of infectious agents
moving from country to country looking for
suitable hosts.
IATUL, 2006
System level and institutional level convergence
One sees that at least at macro level higher
education systems apparently are converging all
over the world, although at micro level strong
local and national characteristics have been
retained that play against uniformity..
According to Halpin and Troyna countries seem to
be doing similar things, but on closer
examination they are not as similar as it first
IATUL, 2006
National characteristics still play an important
role, even when internal reforms of the systems
are legitimated, at least at rhetoric level, by
the countrys need of assuming a position in the
increasingly globalised.
System level and institutional level convergence
National specificities are mediated by state
actions, which paradoxically enhance internally
its regulation strength. This apparent paradox
between the external weakening of sovereignty and
internal strengthening of the state can be seen
in the implementation of Bologna process in which
the European political objectives are masked by
national interests as each country reverts to a
national logic to fulfil national objectives.
IATUL, 2006
Convergence takes place mainly at the highest
international level, by setting a common agenda
for the political management of higher education
systems. However, when governments implement
national policies they are influenced by national
characteristics and by their own internal
political agenda. At global level this produces a
disarray of political objectives that play
against convergence.
System level and institutional level convergence
What is the influence of the apparent process of
international convergence of higher education
systems at institutional level? Trying to answer
this question one will resort to
neo-institutional theories without ignoring that
new institutionalism suffers from an under
appreciation of diversity
There are three categories of isomorphism
coercive, mimetic, and normative. Coercive
isomorphism is largely imposed from outside the
organisation governmental regulation and the
dominance of cultural expectations may impose
standardisation. Mimetic isomorphism results from
copying those organisations regarded as
successful bench-marking exercises or the use
of a limited pool of advisors may result in
copying similar organisations. Normative
isomorphism arises where members of the
organisation impose internally the dominant norms
they are socialized with.
IATUL, 2006
System level and institutional level convergence
The state is viewed as the main originator of
coercive forces. At the level of higher education
systems the similarity of reforms taking place
all over the world, is in part due to
globalisation. However, as the state is
responsible for the implementation of those
reforms through law enactment and other
regulation mechanisms, one may consider the state
responsible for exerting strong pressures over
institutions favouring their isomorphism.
IATUL, 2006
There are also supranational organisations or
movements that originate coercive forces. An
example is the European Bologna process that aims
at promoting the convergence of the European
national higher education systems to create a
European area of higher education.
System level and institutional level convergence
International organisations holding the power of
the purse (WB and IMF) can originate strong
isomorphic pressures. Other international
agencies such as OECD and UNESCO can influence
governments by means of international surveys and
Universities are complex organisations and it is
difficult to determine the relative weights of
coercive/non-coercive categories of isomorphism
that explain their behaviour. If a university
belonging to a country negotiating a World Bank
loan decides to present itself as an
entrepreneurial university what is the relative
mix of coercive and non-coercive isomorphism? Is
the university paving its way to a share of the
loan? Is the university persuaded by the
lending agency? Did the academic staff become
socialised with the idea of entrepreneurship?
Did the university decide to copy another example
of success?
IATUL, 2006
System level and institutional level convergence
Other examples of coercive/non-coercive mix are
found in academic drift (Levy 1999) and in the
loss of diversity due to the unification of
former higher education binary systems in the UK
and Australia.
Academic drift may result from less prestigious
institutions (polytechnics) trying to emulate the
more prestigious universities (mimetic
isomorphism) and/or from increasing percentage of
new university graduates socialised to the
practices of traditional academic culture in
the academic staff (normative isomorphism).
IATUL, 2006
System level and institutional level convergence
At micro level there are conflicting pressures
bearing on institutions. On the one hand, the new
emphasis on strategic planning and mission
statements may result in the definition of
institutional identities that will protect
diversity. This may be reinforced by defensive
institutional strategies in looking for
particular market niches and by a closer link of
universities to regional development.
IATUL, 2006
On the other hand, there are strong isomorphic
pressures acting both at global level and at
national. Some activities imported from the
business world such as benchmarking, quality
evaluation and accreditation, as well as
competitive funding mechanisms may reinforce
isomorphic pressures, namely if some of these
activities assume an international character.
System level and institutional level convergence
What is probably happening in higher education
institutions is the emergence of a hybridised
model of organisational structure and
decision-making processes. This phenomenon can
for instance be observed in the coexistence of
management teams, or managers (for information,
for quality, etc.) with more traditional modes of
academic administration (peer review, progression
in the academic career based upon judgments by
peers and collegiality in a number of decisions).
IATUL, 2006
At this moment I remind myself of the wise words
of Guy Neave (1995), to avoid any temptation of
acting like an old seer. Neave considers that if
the forecasts are for the very near future one
runs the risk of being contradicted by reality.
If they are cautiously made for the very long
future no one will have the patience to worry
about them. To make prophecies less reliable and
seers less confident, it happens that the
university is a very complex institution that
interacts with its environment and influences
policy implementation. Therefore I will limit
myself to a few short concluding remarks about
the future of higher education.
IATUL, 2006
The behaviour of individual institutions is
difficult to forecast. Social organisations in
general, and universities in particular, are too
complex for their behaviour to be fully explained
by any theory so far developed. Organisations
respond in diverse ways to external change and
expectations and the government is not an
almighty actor that can deterministically
prescribe changes in the management structures,
culture and function of higher education
institutions. Therefore, the implementation of
policies at micro level will introduce further
randomness in the final results of the higher
education global agenda.ducation global agenda.
IATUL, 2006
In relation to a decade ago there are today much
stronger pressures favouring the convergence of
higher education systems. However, there are
strong local and national characteristics that
play against uniformity and are slowing down
convergence processes. Some authors even argue
that globalisation is not incompatible with
some forms of diversity..
IATUL, 2006
The logic of globalisation tolerates, indeed
requires, the promotion of cultural (and possibly
political) difference and diversity.
Globalisation will build on diversity and needs
to work through patterns that seem paradoxical
both global and decentred forms of social
organization, which convey powerful symbolic
images of choice, freedom and diversity. (Jones
1998 149)
IATUL, 2006
The influence of new public management may not
yet be readily visible in higher education
institutions. On the one hand there are signs,
observable in institutional discourses and
practices, indicating that managerialism is
winning some ground from traditional academic
management. On the other hand there is resistance
from many academics sceptical of the new
organisational forms.
IATUL, 2006
There will be an increasing competition between
higher education institutions and national
systems for national and foreign students and for
research funding, which will result in an
increasing stratification of the higher education
systems, nationally and in the new integrated
spaces (European Union, Mercosul, etc.).
International organisations such as UNESCO, the
OECD and the European Commission are already
playing with rankings, league tables and
classifications of universities. This will also
lead to concentration of the research function in
a small number of institutions and the
proliferation of teaching-only institutions.
IATUL, 2006
I want to conclude on a more optimist tone. I do
not share the opinion of those who, after
declaring the decline of the modern University,
suggest that it should be killed in order to be
reinvented, following the idea that post-modern
problems cannot be solved by modern means
(Bauman), or that one needs not a transformation
of the University but a dramatic discontinuation,
a radical change of paradigm. I still believe
that the University will survive once more to the
new challenges, even it has to assume new
organisational forms to resist and to adapt to
outside pressures, while preserving its core
values and mission.
IATUL, 2006