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The impacts of new governance on teaching at German universities. Findings from a national survey


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In this article we will present findings from a national survey questioning the actual impact of the new governance structures at German universities on academic teaching. To begin with, we give a theoretical underpinning to the economization of higher education institutions (HEIs) according to Principal-Agent Theory. This allows for the development of hypotheses about the influence of new selective incentives (merit pay, performance-related budgeting, Management by Objectives, teaching awards) on the professors’ academic teaching behavior. Instructed by critical considerations on Principal-Agent Theory we extended the axiomatics of this economic theory by incorporating concepts like work task motivation and academic socialization for a supposedly more comprehensive explanation. Data from a nationwide German survey allows us then to test our theory-driven assumptions. Our target population was the entire collectivity of all professors at German universities from which we could draft a sample 8,000 individuals. An estimation of four different OLS-regression models shows that the hypotheses derived from Principal-Agent Theory must be rejected whereas the hypotheses based on motivational aspects and socialization processes can be confirmed. Based on our analysis we can conclude that for the status quo of implementation there are no direct influences of new selective incentives on the actual teaching performance whereas we have strong indications for altered mechanisms of enculturation in the field of universities. New Public Management (NPM) seems to produce a new breed of professors whose preferences and practice are conditioned by the imperatives evoked by this new managerialism.
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Higher Education
The International Journal of Higher
Education Research
ISSN 0018-1560
Volume 63
Number 1
High Educ (2012) 63:33-52
DOI 10.1007/s10734-011-9423-1
The impacts of new governance on teaching
at German universities. Findings from a
national survey
Uwe Wilkesmann & Christian J.Schmid
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The impacts of new governance on teaching at German
universities. Findings from a national survey
Uwe Wilkesmann
Christian J. Schmid
Published online: 9 April 2011
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
Abstract In this article we will present findings from a national survey questioning the
actual impact of the new governance structures at German universities on academic
teaching. To begin with, we give a theoretical underpinning to the economization of higher
education institutions (HEIs) according to Principal-Agent Theory. This allows for the
development of hypotheses about the influence of new selective incentives (merit pay,
performance-related budgeting, Management by Objectives, teaching awards) on the
professors’ academic teaching behavior. Instructed by critical considerations on Principal-
Agent Theory we extended the axiomatics of this economic theory by incorporating
concepts like work task motivation and academic socialization for a supposedly more
comprehensive explanation. Data from a nationwide German survey allows us then to test
our theory-driven assumptions. Our target population was the entire collectivity of all
professors at German universities from which we could draft a sample 8,000 individuals.
An estimation of four different OLS-regression models shows that the hypotheses derived
from Principal-Agent Theory must be rejected whereas the hypotheses based on motiva-
tional aspects and socialization processes can be confirmed. Based on our analysis we can
conclude that for the status quo of implementation there are no direct influences of new
selective incentives on the actual teaching performance whereas we have strong indications
for altered mechanisms of enculturation in the field of universities. New Public Manage-
ment (NPM) seems to produce a new breed of professors whose preferences and practice
are conditioned by the imperatives evoked by this new managerialism.
Keywords Governance of universities Teaching motivation Selective incentives
Motivation National survey
U. Wilkesmann (&) C. J. Schmid
Dortmund University of Technology, Center for Continuing Education, Hohe Str. 141,
44139 Dortmund, Germany
C. J. Schmid
High Educ (2012) 63:33–52
DOI 10.1007/s10734-011-9423-1
Author's personal copy
In recent years in all European countries, the governance of university systems has changed
in the direction of New Public Management (Leis
e et al. 2009; Kehm and Lanzendorf
2007; Jansen 2007; De Boer et al. 2007; Enders et al. 2002). Conceptions like new
managerialism (Deem and Brehony 2005), entrepreneurial university (Clark 1998), man-
agerialist values (Amaral et al. 2003), and audit semiotics (Shore 2008) increasingly
impose pressure on academia in Germany, too.
A review of existing literature about the German situation discloses a two-fold research
gap in the discussion about the governance of universities:
1. Research on higher education and governance of higher education lacks representative,
quantitative methodological scrutiny.
Organizational research on the governance of higher education institutions (HEIs) is
rarely conducted following a hypothetico-deductive method of testing hypotheses (for
exceptions see Smeenk et al. 2009; Jansen 2007). There are quantitative surveys to be
found on the status quo of the implementation of managerial steering mechanisms (for
the German situation see Leszczensky et al. 2004; Liefner 2003). But, these studies
provide only univariate statistics describing the meso-level of university organization
instead of formulating testable hypothetical propositions about multivariate relation-
ships between structural arrangements and their effects on individual behavior on the
micro-level of professors.
2. Research on university governance does not include academic teaching. In the
meantime, we have rather extensive and secured knowledge about the impact of
managerial governance on research (e.g. Jansen 2010). It is rather surprising though
that there is no scientific research on the effects of new managerial governance
structures on academic teaching in Germany. Teaching is first of all an integral part of
the institutional work order of any German professor and the financing of public
universities by the respective Ministries of Education is principally based on
performance in research and teaching. Besides, academic teaching is currently
regaining ground in the political discourse about higher education. To counterbalance
the overall trend of promoting outstanding research, policy makers like the German
Rector’s Conference (‘‘HRK’’) and The Donors’ Association for the Promotion of
Science and the Humanities in Germany (‘‘Stifterverband’’) (see HRK 2008) are
pushing teaching excellence programmes and awards. The topic of teaching remains
on the agenda of the never-ending controversy about the problem of how to reconcile
the traditional German idea of the university as unity of research and teaching with the
adverse structural conditions of present-day mass universities (Habermas 1987). As a
discipline, naturally the didactics of teaching would eventually qualify for this field of
research but it has not dedicated itself to the systematic exploration of organizational
variables as antecedents of teaching performance. Research on the latter is scarce not
only for the German context but on the international level as well (see Kember 1997).
There is some groundwork to be done on the managerial governance of academic
teaching before further elaborating on possible crowding-out effects concerning the
research-teaching nexus (see Gottlieb and Keith 1997).
In consideration of the shortcomings mentioned above, our overall research interest
questions the impacts of new governance structures at German universities on academic
teaching: Does managerial governance really affect the significance and the real effort put
into everyday academic teaching of German professors? These reforms are no end in itself,
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but they intend to stimulate individual performance. Accordingly, in our model, the
governance structure of a university is treated as the principle explanatory variable, which
ought to help significantly to predict teaching behavior as the dependent variable. Other-
wise, the actual state of reform has not reached its full potential or it is the wrong approach
for steering universities and its members. In the end, all change reforms have to be
measured against what they can actually achieve with regard to job performance.
We will answer our research question with the help of a quantitative survey targeting
the population of 8,000 German university professors.
First of all, we will describe the
theoretical underpinning of the neo-liberal transformation of the German university to
develop testable hypotheses. We start with the Principal-Agent Theory and continue with a
discussion of its potential explanatory power as well as some epistemological blind spots
by referring to our empirical data.
Theoretical underpinning
The axiomatics of economic theories of organization are widely accepted among both
scholars and practitioners of management at universities as the theoretical underpinning of
governance and funding of higher education in the wake of the post-bureaucratic New
Public Management (NPM) era (Lane and Kivisto 2008). According to Hughes (2006,
cited after O’Flynn 2007) one of the four grand themes, which characterize NPM is the
economic principle primarily drawn from Principal-Agent Theory and Transaction Cost
Economics (O’Flynn 2007).
Following Principal-Agent Theory, incentive structures are best-suited to overcome
aspects of opportunism and goal divergence, which are especially problematic in organi-
zational settings like professional bureaucracies and their member’s pursuit of power,
ideology, patronage, ease of management or allocative inefficiencies. To ensure compli-
ance to his or her target-setting, the superior (principal) provides some form of external
reward or applies coercive authority to maintain or enforce the contractual agreement with
his or her agent. Standard solutions are monitoring, selective incentives, and punishment
(Eisenhardt 1989). Thereby, three agency problems—usually all derived from the princi-
pal’s point of view—complicate the processing of the exchange between the parties
involved (Arrow 1985): hidden characteristics, hidden action, and hidden knowledge. If the
principal can successfully motivate the agent with the help of selective incentives it is in
the self-interest of the agent not to shirk: ‘the principal chooses to use outcome-based
incentives to overcome in part the problems of moral hazard, despite operating at an
informational disadvantage with the agent. This necessarily transfers risk to the risk-averse
agent’ (Miller 2005: 206). Selective incentives like merit pay in academia—a concept,
which by the way can be traced back to the early ninteenth century (see Taylor et al.
1991)—are supposed to change the professor’s behavior by changing his individual payoff
(Kollock 1998). In case of universities, the efficacy of selective incentives is most likely
limited by two reasons: (1) It is very difficult for superiors or—in the case of teaching—
peers to monitor and reward the performance of professors (Frey and Osterloh 2002). (2)
Most incentives in the forms of career, academic reputation, and selective incentives are
provided for research activities, whereas professors also have to do the teaching. For that
reason, they face the problem of multitasking, but Principal-Agent Theory is generally
modelled as a one-dimensional theory (Holmstrom and Milgrom 1991). New selective
Our research project has been financed by the German Research Foundation (project-ID: WI 2052/2-1).
High Educ (2012) 63:33–52 35
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incentives have to focus more on teaching because most existing incentives almost
exclusively support research. Therefore, the principal has to strengthen the least valuable
option for action: teaching. In Germany as well as in other European countries four main
selective incentives have already been implemented to overcome agency problems: merit
pay, performance related budgeting, Management by Objectives (MbO) and teaching
awards. They represent manifestations of new university structures reflecting what is
usually referred to as the ‘managerialistic reform’ of higher education. Altogether, their
main purpose is to align the goals and objectives of the university with those of their
Merit pay
It is somewhat revolutionary for Germany’s academics to be subjected to performance
pay. The English school system for example reportedly first experimented with merit pay
at the beginning of the nineteenth century (Hoko 1988). In the beginning of 2005, a new
salary system (‘‘W-salary’’) was introduced in Germany to displace the old seniority wage
rule (‘‘C-salary’’) in the long run. All professors, which were appointed after January
2005, are paid within the framework of this new salary system while the others remain in
the old seniority wage system. Now, two-thirds of the salary is fixed time wage and one-
third is performance based. In principle, three different types of performance indicators
are applied: (1) appointment negotiation, (2) extra salary for leading a department, (3)
performance bonus for outstanding research or teaching. Only the latter really adheres to
the principles of pay for performance, but for that purpose exact criteria have to be
determined to define what is meant by ‘outstanding’ research or teaching. Our first
hypothesis is:
H 1 Receiving merit pay for teaching positively affects the subjective significance
attributed to and the real effort put into teaching behavior
Moreover, existing literature about merit pay in academia emphasizes that the bonus
design has to be as transparent as possible (Christensen et al. 2010) and theorizing about
motivational crowding-out effects discusses the ambiguous effects of external regulation of
behavior via payment on intrinsic motivation (Frey 2002; Bohnet and Oberholzer-Gee
Performance related budgeting
German universities have been increasingly permitted financial authority. This means, they
can now decide on how to distribute their overall budget internally to faculties, depart-
ments and professors. Usually they do not really make use of their autonomy and allocate
the federal subsidies and grants in accordance with the parameters set by the federal states
ministries (‘‘La
nderministerien’’). Most universities have introduced performance related
formulas. In most cases the performance criterions are of quantitative nature and include
measures like third-party funding, number of PhDs, number of student enrolments or
average time to complete studies. Our second hypothesis is:
H 2 Formula based budgeting for teaching positively affects the subjective significance
attributed to and the real effort put into teaching behavior
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Management by Objectives
In recent years, most German universities already established MbO (Jaeger et al. 2005).
The president (or rectorate) negotiates cooperatively with faculties and/or with single
chairs to reach an agreement on strategic objectives. By now, most German universities
have established MbO’s, which include both research and teaching objectives. We assume
if at least one topic of the agreement on objectives regards teaching there will be an effect
on teaching. Our third hypothesis is:
H 3 Management by Objectives positively affects the subjective significance attributed
to and the real effort put into teaching behavior, if there is at least one item in the
agreement addressing academic teaching
Teaching awards
In the majority of cases universities in Germany award a prize for teaching to enhance the
status of academic teaching. The prize money is usually rather modest (on the average
about Euro 1,000.00). There is only one widely recognized and reputable national teaching
award, which includes a money prize of Euro 50,000.00. Our fourth hypothesis is:
H 4 Teaching awards positively affect the subjective significance attributed to and the
real effort put into teaching behavior
It is important to note here, that depending on the design of the management-by-
objectives or teaching awards being used, they usually do not qualify as selective
incentives because they fail to discriminate between those who contribute to the orga-
nization’s (collective principal) interest and those who do not (Olson 1968). Besides,
awards suit in many respects the scientific community (Frey and Neckermann 2008): they
match well with ideological restrictions and are advantageous in comparison to other
monitoring and control mechanisms with regard to feasibility. Academics appreciate
awards, and awards are supposedly less likely to crowd out intrinsic motivation (Frey and
Neckermann 2008). A statistical comparison of means between the two groups of
teaching award-winners and the rest already showed that there is no significant difference
for the variables addressing the engagement in teaching activities (Wilkesmann and
Schmid 2010).
Beyond (orthodox) agency theory
The four hypotheses above have been formulated in accordance with basic assumptions of
orthodox Principal-Agent Theory. If this theory is adequate and in reality capable of
covering most of the independent factors that explain academic teaching behavior, our
regression analysis ought to feature a high model fit respectively explanatory power.
Additionally, critical theoretical considerations prompted us a priori to extend and modify
the axiomatics of Principal-Agent Theory for a supposedly more comprehensive expla-
nation of academic teaching behavior.
Agent’s acceptance of agentic status
A prerequisite of Principal-Agent Theory is the differentiation between the roles of agents
and principals. Traditionally, the German professor can act as principal (Schimank 2005):
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The rector actually was never a professor’s principal. By law the professor was subjected to
the minister who de facto did not intervene in an universities’ daily operations. Nowadays,
under the managerial self-governance regime, the rector is the principal, but normally he or
she does not directly monitor teaching performance either. Classroom teaching is a
compartmented social domain where the professor plays the role of the principal detached
from any superior control. Therefore, our proposition to extend the scope of Principal-
Agent Theory is that the professor’s acceptance of his or her agentic status, as defined by
new public management principles, is more relevant to his or her actual behavior than the
objectively observed situation of resource dependency and formal authority relations. To
put it in other words: Does the professor accept the prescribed agency and accountability
that those managerial imperatives try to convey on him or her and act in accordance to
them? Therefore, our fifth hypothesis is:
H 5 The higher the professor’s acceptance of his or her agentic status as prescribed by
the principles of performance-oriented steering, the higher the level of subjectively
attributed significance to and the real effort put into teaching behavior
Motivational status of agentic behavior
Economic theories of action presuppose a-cultural conceptualizations of man, and relate
individual outcomes of action to formal structural variables of governance. In order to
steer professors effectively via structural variables towards certain intended behavioral
outcomes, it is only plausible to further specify the professoriate as distinctive self-
interested and goal-directed actors. Extended models of cognitive-rationalist approaches
to organizing supplement the micro-foundations of the base-line model, specifically the
conceptualization of award mechanisms. Crowding theories are of particular interest here,
because they put forward the idea that award mechanisms can be also immaterial and
have intrinsic sources. ‘We may say that it is this intrinsic motivation which makes
academics commit themselves to their scholarly activities not as a job but as a vocation,
profession and hobby; which sustains them despite deteriorating working conditions and
salaries’ (Moses and Ramsden 1992: 105). To get a more detailed picture of the aca-
demics motivation to teach, we apply the self-determination theory of motivation (SDT;
Ryan and Deci 2000) which enriches unitary conceptualizations of motivation by dif-
ferentiating between different types of regulating behavior and their consequences. SDT
claims that these distinct types of motivation can be arranged along a continuum between
non-self-determined (amotivation) and self-determined (intrinsic motivation) behavior.
Firstly, our question is, if this frequently referred to intrinsic motivation is actually
capable of explaining the professor’s engagement and commitment to teaching. Addi-
tionally, we will test the effects of less or not self-determined external regulation on
teaching behavior.
H 6 The higher the perceived level of self-determination in teaching (intrinsic
regulation), the higher the subjectively attributed significance to and the real
effort put into teaching behavior
Maybe, the average German professor’s preferences for teaching are not materialistic in
the first place and consequently effects of material reward mechanisms should not have the
kind of impact expected by policy makers (principals).
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Socialization of teaching behavior
In Principal-Agent Theory, actors behave without learning processes, without socializa-
tion. The formation of preferences has no systematic place in theories of rational choice
(Vaughan 1998). If anything, emerging and enduring structural properties reconstitute
‘downwards’ the dispositions of an agent. What Hodgson calls reconstitutive downward
causation (2007) means that social structures have some constraining and enabling power
to mold their agents’ dispositions and aspirations: ‘() It is on habits, rather than merely
on behaviour, intentions or other preferences’ (Hodgson 2007: 109). Besides, literature on
teaching behavior also points to socialized practices as an alternative explanans: ‘Each
academic’s conception of teaching will have formed through some complex amalgam of
influences such as experiences as a student, departmental and institutional ethos, con-
ventions of the discipline and even the nature of the classroom. As teaching is central to the
role of academics, conceptions of teaching tend to become subsumed into unconscious.
It therefore, takes a major perspective transformation to change them () [emphasis
added]’ (Kember 1997: 271).
To describe (the style of) teaching as a result of institutionally socialized strategies of
action, we make use of Trigwell and Prosser’s inventory of approaches to teaching
(Trigwell et al. 1994; Trigwell and Prosser 2004). They offer a concept that allows us to
understand specific organizational conduct (here: teaching), beyond the influence of
intended extrinsic regulation via structural properties. The academic’s approaches to
teaching have been originally analyzed in terms of the strategies they adopt for their
teaching and the intentions underlying these strategies (Trigwell and Prosser 1996: 78).
The authors distinguish between two general types of teaching: a teacher focused approach
where the teacher only transfers information to the students and a student focused approach
where the teacher helps the students to change their worldviews by developing their own
new knowledge. The teaching approaches can be interpreted as general attitude towards the
practice of teaching which are the product of organizational socialization.
H 7 The professor’s approach to teaching positively affects the subjectively attributed
significance of and the real effort put into teaching behavior
Empirical evidence
Survey design
We will now test the aforementioned seven hypotheses with the help of a survey we
conducted between May and July 2009. The target population was the entire collectivity of
all professors at German universities. Our sample covers 8,000 professors that were
selected from the e-mailing list of the German Association of University Professors
(DHV). This enabled us to almost fully access our target population (see Table 1) because
the DHV maintains a database of about 20.000 German professors’ e-mail-addresses
(numbers are changing constantly) from which we were allowed to draw a sample of 8,000
participants The coverage error should be rather insignificant because the sampling frame
and target population are relatively congruent in numbers.
The professors paid within the framework of the new merit pay (pay-per-performance
salary) are of special theoretical and empirical interest for our study, so we opted for a
disproportionate stratified sampling, differentiating between two strata according to the
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salary-categories (merit pay vs. old seniority pay), in order to generate enough cases for
reliable estimates. In a first step, we chose all 3,244 professors in the DHV’s distribution
list, which receive merit pay so that the selection probability (k/N) for a professor of this
subpopulation is 55.42%. In a second step, the professors paid in the old salary system
have been sampled randomly. Their selection probability is 35.15%. All 8,000 professors
received an invitation from the DHV to participate via e-mail. Those mails contained a
link to the online questionnaire starting with a short description of the survey. After a
second reminder was sent and data cleansing with the help of plausibility checks we
could make use of a total of 1,119 completed questionnaires. Thus, the response rate was
In order to get a more complete picture of possible non-response and the representa-
tiveness of our sample we examined differences between respondents (sample) and the
general population. The population data were requested and retrieved from the German
Federal Statistical Office that keeps precise record about the population of higher education
institutions and their personnel (Destatis 2009). Table 1 shows the comparison between
sample and population parameters in central categories.
Because we have comprehensive information about the distribution of these variables’
values in the target population we can make use of weight factors to compensate the
disproportionate sampling fractions (Kish 1990) for descriptive statistics. On the one
hand, we were able to adjust the relation between professors paid according to the old
and new wage system in our sample to the ratio found in the general population. On the
other hand, there is no need to weight the disproportionate strata for the purpose of
multivariate analysis given we integrate the respective variables in our model as pre-
dictors; which we did. We also did not weight the underrepresented minority of pro-
fessors in arts because we will not analyze the faculties of arts separately because of the
small case number.
Table 1 Comparison sample—population
Variable Percentage within
Population (N = 21.226)
Percentage within
Sample (n = 1,119)
%n %n
Old wage class C (C3 ? C4) 68.6 14,338 41.5 458
New wage Class W (W2 ? W3) 31.4 6,569 58.5 645
Male 79.9 19,109 77.7 826
Female 20.1 3,914 22.3 237
Age (Mean) 49.7 23,023 49.0 1,030
Linguistics & Cultural Studies 21.4 4,915 26.1 292
Law, Economics and Social Sciences 14.8 3,413 18.3 205
Mathematics & Natural Sciences 24.7 5,678 27.2 304
Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy 13.5 3,105 7.9 88
Forestry, Agricultural Science, Nutritional Science 1.8 421 1.3 12
Engineering 9.9 2,282 7.0 78
Science of Art 11.7 2,687 1.2 13
Sports 0.8 187 0.5 6
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With regards to contents, the questionnaire can be divided into four main sections: (1)
domains of academic teaching activity, (2) measures of teaching motivation/approach and
measures of the person-organization relation (organizational commitment, person-organi-
zation-fit), (3) reported status quo of the university’s managerial/academic self-governance
structure, and (4) a socio-demographic section. All in all, we covered about over 200 single
items in our (omnibus) survey on the managerial governance of academic teaching.
The dependent variable—academic teaching
Interestingly, there is no comprehensive model differentiating between dimensions of
activity for academic teaching. Besides numerous inventories for the evaluation of teaching
quality that mainly focus on classroom teaching activities and whose validity is still widely
contested, there is no definition of academic teaching that covers all areas of action
involved in fulfilling the task of teaching beyond the domain of actual seminars or courses
taught (Cashin 1989). Drawing from Cashin’s proposal of an expanded definition of
teaching, and with the help of didactics experts, we developed our own inventory of
academic teaching.
As organizational scholars it is not our task to assess and put to rest the contentious
debate about teaching quality, so we were content to ask about the (1) attributed signifi-
cance of teaching, which means the level of the professor’s self-reported importance
attributed to his/her engagement in a specific task (‘‘How important is it for you to ’’ )
and (2) the perceived real effort put into teaching behavior to realize these intentions or
preferences (‘‘How much effort does it actually take for you to ’). All items were
measured on a five-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree).
Moreover, we tried to cover the work load of teaching by collecting data on the types of
courses taught as well as the approximated numbers of students per course, time and work
put into the assessment of instruction or preparation of exams, etc. We finally concluded
the following dimensions of activity for academic teaching:
Preparation and revision of content: formulation of content, succession and compo-
sition of content areas, course fit within the larger curriculum, coordination of learning
content with colleagues, course revisions, updating of content with new research
findings and up to date examples.
Methods of instructional design: conceptualization of methods of instruction,
availability of additional learning aids, social organization of instruction (formation
of learning/working groups, coordination of project teams etc.), audio-visual means of
instruction, conceptualization and communication of instructional goals.
Evaluation: grading of exams, support and consultation during student’s preparations
for exams.
For the purposes of this article, we exclusively focus on the dimension ‘methods of
instructional design’ because the latter discriminates the most between people who are
engaged in teaching and those who are not. A principal components analysis clearly shows
for both dimensions only one latent variable with Cronbach’s Alpha = .74 for ‘attributed
significance to methods of instruction’ and Cronbach’s Alpha = .76 for ‘real effort put into
methods of instruction’ (see Table 4 in Appendix’).
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The independent variables
Merit pay
We measured the independent variables in our first hypothesis dealing with merit pay in
academia with the two following items: ‘Do you have merit pay for teaching at your
university?’ and ‘Are you receiving merit pay for teaching?’’.
University governance—management instruments
In order to parameterize our second hypothesis, we constructed a dummy variable that
differentiates between percentages-based budgeting mechanisms that distribute at least
some percentage on the basis of teaching performance, and those that do not include
teaching. The original item is: ‘Based on the overall formula-based budget mechanism at
your university, what percentage of the tangible means/staff appropriations is distributed
according to criteria of teaching performance?’’. The item ‘Does your agreement on
objectives [with the dean/rectorate] include any statements on the advancement of teaching
activity?’ is used to gather information that addresses the instrument of Management by
Objectives (hypothesis three). To collect data on the use of teaching awards (hypothesis
four) we have asked ‘Does your university promise a teaching award that you could
potentially win?’ and ‘Have you ever won a teaching award?’’.
Self-perception of agentic status
To get information about the professors’ self-perception regarding his/her agentic accep-
tance of economic performance-related imperatives evoked by managerial steering
mechanisms at universities (fifth hypothesis), we developed a four-item scale: general
reactance towards managerial governance, non-feasibility of measuring academic perfor-
mance, inadequacy of managerial governance for professors, awareness of managerial
instruments as restricting control mechanisms. This scale is reliable with Cronbach’s
Alpha = .81.
Motivation to teach
To get findings about the professors’ motivation to teach, we used items from Fernet et al.’s
(2008) Work Tasks Motivation Scale for Teachers (WTMST), which we translated into
German and supplemented with a few items out of the Academic Motivation Scale (AMS)
developed by Vallerand et al. (2008). Both questionnaires are reliable tools for modelling
Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory of motivation (2000). All items are measured
on a five-point Likert scale. A principal component analysis with varimax rotation shows
four latent variables. With a KMO-value of .84 and an explained variance of 58.0%, four
factors (see Table 5 in ‘Appendix’) could be validated: ‘intrinsic motivation’ (Cronbach’s
Alpha = .83), ‘introjected motivation’ (Cronbach’s Alpha = .70), ‘external motivation’
(Cronbach’s Alpha = .71) and ‘amotivation’ (Cronbach’s Alpha = .60).
Socialized teaching behavior
To measure aspects of socialization processes, we collected data on the teaching approach
(hypothesis seven) by translating Prosser and Trigwell’s (2006) inventory. A principal
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component analysis with oblimin rotation (D = 0) of Prosser and Trigwell (2006) items
shows two latent variables: teacher focused (Cronbach’s Alpha = .70) and student focused
(Cronbach’s Alpha = .54; see Table 6 in ‘Appendix’). The reason why Cronbach’s Alpha
for the student focused scale does not prove satisfactory is that we used a short-scale
version of four items instead of the original item-length including eight variables which is
necessarily sub-optimal with regards to reliability, because of sheer test-length (Schmitt
1996). We deliberately opted for expectable lower reliability and aimed at higher criterion-
based validity by excluding items, which are essentially repetitions of each other (Schmitt
1996: 353). High internal consistency can be antithetical to high validity (Kline 1986).
Even though this scale has a low estimate of reliability, it nonetheless contributes sig-
nificantly to the explanatory power of our regression model.
We also asked the respondents if they have made any work experiences outside the
scientific field and for how long they were engaged (in years). This information may well
be an important constraint on the career trajectory as an academic: When a professor once
worked in a private company before he or she was appointed to the current position at the
university, he or she probably differs from the pure-bred academic in regards of teaching
Apart from these hypothesis-driven independent variables we also included the usual
suspect of gender as a control variable and the date of their last appointment to routinely
check for gender-sensitivity and for tenure effects in attributed significance and real effort
put into teaching behavior. We categorized the variable last appointment into three groups:
(1) The last appointment was 2 years or less ago. These are the newcomers at the recent
university. (2) The last appointment was three to eight years ago. This period includes
professors in the old as well as professors in the new salary system. (3) The last
appointment was more than 8 years ago. This group of mature professors is the reference
Another plausible effect is the influence of different disciplines on teaching behavior.
For example, most probably economists should significantly differ from educationalists in
respect of their approach to respectively reflection of academic teaching. Therefore, we ran
separate OLS regressions for all disciplines covered by our sample (see Table 1) to test this
effect. To sum up the results, we can contrary to the expectable reject any specific dis-
ciplinary effect. Thus, we legitimately neglect the disciplines in the following OLS
Empirical results and findings
We used OLS-regression analyses to check our theory-driven hypotheses (Table 2). We
estimated four multiple regression models to test linear associations among variables: we
always separately tested for both groups; professors paid by the new merit pay and the ones
paid by the old seniority pay, as well as for both dependent variables (‘subjectively
attributed significance to methods of instructions’ and ‘real effort put into teaching
methods’). All effect sizes (strength and direction of relationship) are represented by non-
standardized regression coefficients.
Hypotheses one to four have to be rejected. According to all four regression models
there are no significant effects of managerial instruments on academic teaching. Conse-
quently, as far as the current status of implementation is concerned, we can conclude that
neither merit pay, formula based budgeting, nor teaching awards effect teaching behavior
at all. The influence of the variable ‘teaching award winner’ is the exception to the rule.
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Table 2 Linear regression models
Significance methods
(non-stand. regression coef.)
Effort methods (non-stand.
regression coef.)
New merit pay Old seniority
New merit
Old seniority
Hypotheses 1–4
Formal governance of
academic teaching
Merit pay for teaching at university (1 = yes; 0 = no) .000 -.049
Receiver of merit pay for teaching (1 = yes; 0 = no) -.001 -.123
Formula based budget for teaching (1 = yes; 0 = no) -.026 -.034 -.030 -.145
Agreement on objectives includes (1 = yes; 0 = no) -.014 .079 .056 .023
Teaching award at university (1 = yes; 0 = no) -.060 -.031 -.011 .013
Teaching award winner (1 = yes; 0 = no) -.105 -.227
-.054 -.418**
Hypothesis 5 Self-perception not to be an agent to managerialism -.096** -.109** .010 -.117**
Hypothesis 6
Motivation to teach
Intrinsic teaching motivation .094
.176** .064 .072
Introjected teaching motivation .057 .051 .057 .070
Extrinsic teaching motivation -.047
-.044 -.048
Amotivation .039 .092 -.036 .180**
Hypothesis 7
Socialized teaching behavior
Teaching approach: teacher focused .113** .101
.211** .128
Teaching approach: student focused .476** .252** .336** .229**
Academic career trajectory More than 3 years in private companies .157
.366** .064 .381**
Control variables Gender (1 = male; 0 = female) -.203** -.236* -.077 -.351**
Last appointment (1 = 1–2 years) .116 .254 .091 .548
Last appointment (1 = 3–8 years) .086 .127 -014 .026
n 602 433 602 433
Adjusted r
.259 .139 .113 .135
Level of significance 1% (**); 5% (*); 10% (
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For the group of teaching award winners within the old seniority pay this variable has a
significant negative effect on the self-reported effort put into teaching methods. We can
only interpret this impact with the level of experience and routine that especially senior
outstanding teaching award winners presumably have in regards to teaching methods.
The professors’ rejection of their agentic status prescribed by the principles of per-
formance-oriented governance has an expectable negative impact on the attributed sig-
nificance to and real effort put into teaching methods; i.e. hypothesis five is confirmed.
This finding is evidence for our assumption that the professors’ self-conception not to be an
agent of this new managerialism has a negative effect on both dependent variables.
All in all, we cannot generally confirm the claim of hypotheses six. A perceived level of
high self-determination (intrinsic motivation) in teaching positively effects only the sig-
nificance attributed to teaching behavior but not the real effort invested in teaching. Sur-
prisingly, there is a positive impact of amotivation on real effort put into teaching methods
for professors within the old seniority pay. Maybe it can be attributed to their tenure during
which they have learned to deal with frustrating teaching conditions (amotivation) in a way
that they do not allow them to influence their actual teaching activities negatively. To the
contrary, they seemingly react with an increased teaching effort.
In alignment with the seventh hypothesis, the two teaching approaches (teacher and
student focused) have a significant positive effect on the attributed significance to and
effort put into teaching methods. Specifically, the student oriented conception is one of the
strongest predictors in our model. These results support our a priori theorizing to overcome
the limitations of Principal-Agent Theory. The work experience of more than 3 years in
private sector enterprises has a positive impact on teaching behavior in general. However,
this relation is only highly significant for the group within the old seniority pay.
The variable of gender shows also a significant impact on the dependent variables.
Females generally attribute a higher significance to teaching methods than males. The
variable ‘last appointment’ has no significant effect at all.
In summary, we have to reject the assumption about a goal-directing or performance-
enhancing influence of selective incentives according to Principal-Agent Theory whereas
we have rather strong empirical evidence for the influence of socialized, ‘cultural’ factors
on teaching methods. Up to now, the new governance system in Germany has no direct
impact on their professor’s teaching behavior. Nevertheless, our analysis made us aware of
the salary scheme which obviously makes a difference. Therefore, we conducted a com-
parison of means for independent groups and the non-parametric Mann–Whitney-U rang
sum test to analyze differences between the two salary groups of professors. The results of
our regression analysis gave us reason to believe that these collectives might best represent
two distinct and distinctive groups as far as a change of attitude towards new ways of
organizing universities is concerned (Table 3).
Quite interestingly, we can see that there is an identifiable difference in preferences and
practices between the old seniority pay and the new merit pay: Most notably the variables
acceptance of agency, extrinsic motivation, and preferences for symbolic or monetary
compensation performance bonus. The self-perception not to be an agent is significantly
higher in the group characterized by the old seniority pay. The salary groups do not differ
in regards of intrinsic but in extrinsic motivation, i.e. the professors remunerated by merit
pay are more externally regulated. Additionally, the merit pay group values performance
bonuses to a higher degree both in monetary and symbolic respects. This result further
underpins the assumption of professors paid within a more performance-oriented salary
system adapting to the latent imperative evoked by the NPM doctrine of getting adequately
paid according to the level of performance or engagement.
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Discussion and conclusion
We can now answer our main research question: On the one hand, there are no significant
direct impacts of the new selective incentives (based on Principal-Agent Theory) on the
actual self-reported teaching behavior, yet. Selective incentives are probably not the best
way to highlight the relevance of teaching. On the other hand, we observe altered mech-
anisms of enculturation in universities. Here, sociological concepts of interest seem the
more appropriate than explanations offered by economic theories of organizations
(Swedberg 2005). Sociologists like Bourdieu make the analytical shift from interests as
ends to interests made cultural by stressing the means (dispositions, cultural toolkits)
through which people in organizations formulate strategies of action (Rambo 1999: 329).
Organizations (inclusive universities) as fields constitute distinct social arenas of symbolic
(inclusive economic) resources and profits producing forms of interests that may seem like
disinterestedness from the outside point of view (Bourdieu 1998: 84 ff.). Whereas the
corporate manager may be driven and directed by the logic of the economic field, the
Table 3 Mean comparison and Mann–Whitney-U-test between groups
Group N Mean ± SD Mann–
Acceptance of agency New merit pay 621 3.11 (1.06) .000
Old seniority pay 444 3.39 (1.08)
Intrinsic-identified motivation New merit pay 633 4.27 (0.67) .776
Old seniority pay 447 4.27 (0.68)
Introjected motivation New merit pay 631 2.99 (0.83) .915
Old seniority pay 445 3.00 (0.86)
Extrinsic motivation New merit pay 630 2.95 (1.27) .000
Old seniority pay 447 2.66 (1.26)
Amotivation New merit pay 632 1.55 (0.68) .324
Old seniority pay 445 1.61 (0.73)
Teacher focused
approach to teaching
New merit pay 631 3.17 (0.70) .000
Old seniority pay 447 3.42 (0.68)
Student focused
approach to teaching
New merit pay 632 3.88 (0.69) .000
Old seniority pay 447 3.71 (0.66)
Effort put into
methods of teaching
New merit pay 629 3.26 (0.82) .001
Old seniority pay 445 3.11 (0.84)
Attributed significance
to methods of teaching
New merit pay 629 3.54 (0.77) .000
Old seniority pay 445 3.32 (0.80)
A performance bonus is of
principal importance,
because it rightfully awards
teaching in monetary respect.
New merit pay 629 3.62 (1.38) .000
Old seniority pay 441 2.78 (1.49)
A performance bonus is of
principal importance, because
it rightfully awards teaching
in symbolic respect.
New merit pay 621 3.62 (1.38) .000
Old seniority pay 441 3.18 (1.47)
High levels of significance are highlighted in bold characters
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academic’s scientific practice is traditionally adhering to the principle of gaining scientific
authority as the currency that can be transferred into symbolic power (Bourdieu 1975). In
the wake of its ‘economic colonialisation’ (see Bourdieu 1998) the scientific field is
converting and subsequently it may produce a new breed of professors in the future with a
habitus structured by the new governance model.
Even if selective incentives have no direct effect on teaching behavior, we can observe
diverged attitudes. Professors within the new merit pay scheme have higher preferences for
the new bonus system than the professors in the old seniority pay. In the long run they will
probably expect corresponding incentives for their expenditure of work. Because in Ger-
many the new merit pay provides them with less basic salary than the old seniority pay,
they have no chance but to rely on incentives to better their total income. We should
question if the rector (principal) is really willing to give incentives to the agent because we
can apply the moral hazard principle from Principal-Agent Theory for the principal, too:,,
even when an outcome-based incentive system is socially efficient, the principal may
prefer not to implement it. The reason for this is a form of moral hazard: the principal can
expect to earn a higher residual profit with an inefficient contract than if the agent is
induced by a bonus to take the socially efficient outcome. The bonus necessary to induce
the efficient action is simply greater than the possible return to the principal. The princi-
pal’s self-interest tempts the principal away from the efficient use of incentives’ (Miller
and Whitford 2006: 215). In this case, all professors will get rather amotivated in the long
run. Theoretically, the question arises if economic theories are in the end adequate to help
us understand or inform us about developments, social mechanisms and individual prac-
tices of higher education institutions. Culturally under-determined conceptions like Prin-
cipal Agent Theory are by and large reluctant to deliver satisfying descriptions about the
social creation and modus operandi of distinctive interests because the idea of preference
formation is not accounted for within the rational choice axiomatic (Ouchi and Wilkins
1985: 464 ff.). Less orthodox rational choice theorists have acknowledged these short-
comings and started to consult cultural theories of interaction to capture intrinsic symbolic
interests and meaningful purposes (see Rambo 1999: 327 ff.).
On the basis of our cross-sectional data we can speculate with regard to practical advice.
Either the management of academic teaching will reach its full direct impact on the
professors’ behavior some time in the future, if selective incentives are implemented and
designed to address teaching more efficiently by providing a more substantial and
worthwhile financial backup. Otherwise, the practice of managing academic teaching
should tie in with our findings on socialized routines, e.g. by sending professors to
workshops for the didactics of academic teaching at an early stage of habitualization.
Perhaps it makes more sense to support academic teaching by offering instructional
training than by offering selective incentives. Certainly, the latter can be done at a more
reasonable price without possible implications of crowding out intrinsic motivation (Frey
2002). To make a profound assessment of these presuppositions, research on university
governance has to gain more insight about and further scrutinize the relationships between
the design of those incentive systems and their actual effects. Here a quite straightforward
example: How much money will be needed before a professor seriously thinks about
intensifying his or her performance? We need further information about these decisive
details of implementing and realizing Management by Objectives, merit pay etc. Ulti-
mately, research has to investigate long-term changes with the help of longitudinal studies,
to be capable of appropriately assessing the consequences of this reform in progress.
In the end, our study is to be seen as a genuine preparatory work to invent, test and
validate measures and inventories for further quantitative research in universities. Our
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study demonstrates the necessity and benefit of a trans-disciplinarian (see Jansen 2007: 110
ff.) approach in a sense that we were not afraid to make use and incorporate heterogeneous
scientific research.
See Tables 4, 5, and 6.
Table 4 Principal component analysis of instructional design (importance and effort)
DV: instructional design of courses Important Effort
How important is it for you to principally put effort into teaching as (importance a = .74)
to develop specific methods of instruction? (e.g. discussions, lectures,
experiments, case studies)
to enrich the courses teaching–learning-process with additional learning aids?
(e.g. handouts, motivational instructions, web-based resources)
to conceptualize/organize the social organization of the teaching–learning-
processes? (e.g. cooperative learning groups, project teams)
to conceptualize/organize the use of audio-visual means of instruction?
(e.g. instructional films, e-learning, audio-tapes, beamer)
to conceptualize and communicate clear educational/instructional goals for your
respective courses? (e.g. content (area) coverage, intended learning outcomes like
higher-order problem-solving skills)
How much effort does it actually take for you (actual effort: a = .76)
to develop specific methods of instruction? (e.g. discussions, lectures,
experiments, case studies)
to enrich the courses teaching–learning-process with additional learning aids?
(e.g. handouts, motivational instructions, web-based resources)
to conceptualize/organize the social organization of the teaching–learning-
processes? (e.g. cooperative learning groups, project teams)
to conceptualize/organize the use of audio-visual means of instruction?
(e.g. instructional films, e-learning, audio-tapes, beamer)
to conceptualize and communicate clear educational/instructional goals
for your respective courses?
Table 5 Principal component analysis of motivation to teach
Principal Component Analysis (PCA) Teaching motivation
Intrin Intro Ext Amot
Intrinsic-identified regulation: a = .83
Because for me, the task of teaching is of personal importance. .823
Because I find the task of teaching interesting. .805
Because I derive much pleasure from teaching. .773
Because the task of teaching provides the chance
to realize an aspect of my academic profession that
is of personal meaning to me.
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Table 6 Table principal component analysis teaching approach with oblimin rotation (D = 0)
Principal Component Analysis (PCA) approaches to teaching inventory
Teacher focused: a = .70
In this subject students should focus their study on what I provide them. .481
I structure my teaching in this subject to help students to pass examinations. .750
I present material to enable students to build up an information basis in this subject. .487
In my teaching I try to cover the subject in a way it might as well be presented
in key readings and textbooks.
I should know the answers to any questions that students may put to me concerning
the content of my courses.
It is important to present a lot of facts to students so that they know what they have
to learn for this subject.
Student focused: a = .54
In my teaching I invest a lot of time, to concern myself with the knowledge
creation on the side of my students.
Table 5 continued
Principal Component Analysis (PCA) Teaching motivation
Intrin Intro Ext Amot
Because I see my teaching as a significant contribution
to my students overall academic progress.
Introjected regulation: a = .70
Because my aspiration is to be successful at teaching,
otherwise I would feel like a loser.
Primarily to get positive feedback from my students. .750
Because a good performance in teaching attributes largely
to my self-esteem as a professor.
Because I would feel bad if I would neglect my task of teaching. .508
External regulation: a = .71
Because I get paid for it. .793
Because my university/employment contract demands to teach. .734
Amotivation: a = .60
I don’t know, sometimes I don’t see the actual purpose of teaching. .780
I don’t know why, because the work conditions provided
for academic teaching are unbearable.
Teaching does not mean a lot to me, because I cannot really
see what academic teaching can accomplish in my students.
Intrin intrinsic-identified regulation, Intro introjected regulation, Ext external regulation, Amot amotivation
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... New Public Management used the first solution. There is, however, a lot of empirical evidence that selective incentives are not transforming university teaching to a new quality level (Wilkesmann & Schmid, 2012, Wilkesmann & Lauer, 2021. On the contrary, selective incentives produce unintended effects. ...
... First, extrinsic regulation corresponds with a still high level of hetero-determination and actions are performed only due to reward or punishment. The employee only performs the action for which they are paid or for which there is a selective incentive-no other courses of action are performed (Wilkesmann & Schmid, 2012). A professor shows extrinsic regulation when they still have to mark a lot of exams or homework that is still unfinished on the desk. ...
... In this example, transactional governance is determined by the selective incentives of NPM and it is mostly based on "agreements, codes, controls, directions, and standard operating procedures" (Wilkesmann, 2016, p. 36), where members of the organization expect compensation or benefit for any behaviour. The following incentives are established in the German higher education system: payfor-performance, performance related budgets, management by objectives, and teaching awards (Wilkesmann & Schmid 2012). These incentives suggest that good teaching should be encouraged with appropriate performance incentives: anyone who develops a new course of study will receive a bonus payment, while those who supervise many Master's or PhD candidates will receive an additional staff position. ...
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This chapter will explain the transformation of universities as organizations using the tradition of motivation theory, which postulates a connection between perceptions of organizational structures and regulation of action. The self-determination theory is used as a theoretical underpinning to bridge the micro-macro link between organizational structure and individual behaviour. Coleman's bathtub model and Esser's further development of this model can explain the interaction between the organizational structure at time t1, the resulting situation perception and the corresponding selected action, and the aggregation of the individual actions to the organizational structure at time t2. Two ideally distinguishable forms of these interactions are explained using the example of academic teaching. Much empirical evidence is cited from the literature to support this relationship. Thus, a model is presented that explains the organizational transformation of universities based on the aggregation of the actions of the members (i.e., the academic staff).
... We built our argument relying on the broad range of academic engagement literature, as there are commonalities across such activities (Ankrah and Al-Tabbaa 2015), namely that they require motivation to go beyond the two longstanding academic activities of education and research (Pol and Ville 2009). We aim to specifically advance knowledge about prosocial motivation in academic engagement, given the importance of individual academics' agency (Tartari and Breschi 2012;Wilkesmann and Schmid 2012) and the growing interest in this type of motivation. Specifically, we examine prosocial motivation in the context of academic engagement with society. ...
... Self-determination theory is widely used in research on higher education and academic motivation (Esdar et al. 2016;Wilkesmann and Schmid 2012). In the context of academic engagement, examples of intrinsic motivation include curiosity (Lam 2011;Orazbayeva et al. 2021), while extrinsic motivation to engage with external stakeholders commonly refers to individualized pecuniary awards, career development, and recognition (Iorio et al. 2017;Lam 2011). ...
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Although research has shown the importance of prosocial motivation for academic engagement in public good (universities’ so-called ‘third mission’), research is yet to examine such motivation in depth. This study develops an empirical understanding of the dimensions of prosocial motivation in academics’ engagement, focusing particularly on societal engagement. Self-determination theory and conceptual forms of prosocial motivation (principlism, egoism, collectivism, and altruism) assist in interpreting the dimensions. We conducted twenty-five qualitative interviews with academics in the field of health science in Germany. Three dimensions of prosocial motivation emerged from the data: (1) personal, (2) academic role, and (3) academic field. The results demonstrate how the various conceptual forms of prosocial motivation are reflected in these dimensions. Additionally, we advance our understanding of how intrinsic and extrinsic elements are reflected in academics’ prosocial motivation. We offer important theoretical, managerial, and policy implications by significantly improving the understanding of academics’ prosocial motivation.
... Evidence for this is found in Wan et al.'s (2017) study of academics in Malaysia, where the principle redress to external motives of performance pay and other incentives fail to motivate active researchers, whereas space and time to research does. This supports Wilkesmann, Schmid, and Schmid's (2012) German study with professors and administrators. They found that the use of managerial instruments had little impact on academic teaching performance (although they note that younger professors emerging through the new public management ideology were more inclined to be so influenced). ...
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This paper reports on a study conducted in Georgia on the issues of the university sector to implement new strategic principles and standards devised by the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement (NCEQE) for learning and teaching in higher education. This paper specifically considers the government’s institutional relations concerning the quality of teaching and learning. This is done by borrowing the conceptual framing of the governance relationship of Government and institution provided by Principle Agency (PA) theory. The paper presents the results of the survey and follow-up interviews and concludes that institutions differ in approach, embracing both symbolic compliance and professional pragmatism in regard to the accreditation requirements. A discussion follows, embracing a principle agency interpretation of what the results might mean in practical and policy terms for governance and the development of the sector. It is accepted that learning and teaching is a challenging space for nearly all universities across the world but the Georgia example highlights the dynamics of change within the context of a post-Soviet country and the emerging practical problems this legacy creates. The research identifies some of these tensions between national systems and institutional readiness. The paper closes by offering recommendations for improvement.
... For this reason, teacher identity is a process that is never fully concluded, which is why any change that occurs in the immediate environment invariably provokes cognitive and affective reactions that lead teachers to question their identities, and thus result in tensions (McNaughton & Billot, 2016); this can be seen, for instance, in the impact of the pressure to prioritize research and knowledge sharing above teaching (Leibowitz et al. 2012;Van Lankveld et al., 2017). Academics are increasingly expected to adjust their identities and job roles to fit the "business" profiles and strategies of the university organizations in which they work (Wilkesmann, & Schmid, 2012). Conflicts arise due to internal and external urges that teachers experience, which often force them to decide on the one hand between ...
Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be. —Arthur C. Clarke - ICTs have substantially transformed our society. However, in the educational field, until 2019, being a teacher who manages ICTs was quite optional. With the COVID-19 pandemic, most teachers had to become virtual teachers, at least intermittently. This accidental and unexpected situation has impacted teachers, making existing weaknesses in education more visible. Now more than ever, it is undeniable important to highlight the emergence of a new professional identity, the so-called hybrid teacher. This professional identity combines different teaching methods, resources, and educational activities of different origin and nature—in-person, blended, or online- to optimize students’ learning experiences. In this chapter, we analyze some positions of identity (I’p) that teachers have developed with ICTs to became hybrid teachers. Likewise, we introduce some training proposals capable of effectively influencing the teacher’s professional identity, such as virtual reality training environments.
... In the literature review, we identified the use of multiple theoretical frameworks: institutional theory; resource dependence theory; population ecology theory; agency theory; resource-based view theory; dynamic capabilities theory; theory of knowledge; stakeholder theory; and strategic marketing, among others. We also identified multiple lines of research, more or less consolidated yet based on different topics: organisation and structure (Christensen, 2011;Larsen, 2001;Mora & Vidal, 2000); strategic management (Bennett & Kottasz, 2011;Broad & Goddard, 2010;Havas, 2008;Mainardes et al., 2012a,b;Matlay, 2009;Nasruddin, Bustami & Inayatullah, 2012;Patterson, 2001;Rodríguez-Ponze & Pedraja-Rejas, 2009;Sedziuviene & Vveinhardt, 2009); the relationship with society (Chapleo & Simms, 2010;Ferrer-Balas, Buckland, & de Mingo, 2009;Solé-Parellada & Llinàs-Audet, 2011;Takala et al., 2001); environmental analysis (Buchbinder, 1993;Card & Card, 2007;Curran, 2001;Dyson, 2004;Häyrien-Alestalo & Peltola, 2006;Palomares-Montero & García-Aracil, 2011;Perotti, 2007;Rebolloso, Fernández-Ramírez & Cantón, 2008;Roşca, Păunescu & Pârvan, 2010); and internal analysis (Harris & Ogbonna, 2001;Martínez-Torres, 2006;Waas, Verbruggen & Wright, 2010;Walter, Auer & Ritter, 2006;Wilkesmann & Schmid, 2012;Wright, 2010). ...
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This thesis based on institutional theory, dynamic capabilities and stakeholder theory investigates the relationships among the antecedents of responsive and proactive stakeholder orientation and its consequences in the Spanish public university context. In addition, how university university leaderships react when a public university might implement and disseminate a strategic management approach grounded in the responsive and proactive stakeholder orientation raise the question about the existence of heterogeneity among public university managers so, focusing in those reactions we aim to identify different public profiles of Spanish public university managers. To achieve the objective, several research techniques are used to answer the dissertation questions empirically, such as descriptive analysis, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation analysis, multi-sample analysis, and latent class segmentation. The results obtained mainly stresses that the mimetic effect on copy successful university actions, university top manager's emphasis on both stakeholder orientations and a better communication and relationship between managers of different university structures have positive effects on responsive and proactive stakeholder orientation. Moreover, the results suggested that those universities that are more responsive or/and proactive stakeholder oriented obtain a better organizational performance in terms of beneficiary satisfaction, acquisition of resources and reputation. Furthermore, our findings show that to achieve some specific goals of university performance, as university reputation, a responsive stakeholder orientation is not sufficient, a proactive stakeholder orientation is also needed. In addition, multi-sample analysis show that there were no significant differences in almost all established paths whereas for those significants differences a set of propositions was raised. Specifically, the results showed that to belong to a certain university size, region, ranking positions and endogamy promotes better performance results from a proactive stakeholder orientation. Furthermore, we test the heterogeneity among the Spanish public university managers. A total of four segments were identified – Conservatives, Practicals, Disbelievers, and Unconventionals –. Mainly, the “Conservatives” show neutral positions in relation to implement responsive and proactive stakeholder orientations, the “Practicals” are interested in copy successful actions of other similar institutions, while the “Disbelievers” do not encourage any change whereas the “Unconventionals” show a totally opposite perspective. Finally, this dissertation offers some contributions to research and practice, to university managers, and to policy makers, which could help to provide new insights into university management. Furthermore, some limitations are highlighted and future research lines are discussed.
This study uses China as a case country to investigate the factors that influence university instructors’ teaching agency by drawing on experiences in the engineering field using Margaret Archer’s social realist framework. With survey results including 659 valid responses, the findings reveal that instructors’ delivery of contextual instruction and use of multiple assessment methods to measure student learning are both directly influenced by two reflexivity-related factors, namely, intrinsic motivation for teaching and instructors’ self-efficacy with regard to engaging students in engineering classes. However, one’s intrinsic motivation for teaching, as an internal reflexive factor, is also influenced by the institutional provision of resources for teaching and the effects of the training activities organized by institutions, which are structural factors associated with the working context. Although one’s self-efficacy in engaging students in engineering classes is not directly influenced by the effectiveness of pedagogical training, it is influenced by the resources provided by the institution to support teaching. Furthermore, the effects of organized training activities to support teaching are also found to have a direct impact on instructors’ use of multiple assessment methods in their teaching practices. This study advances our understanding of how teaching excellence can be achieved at the university level.
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Higher education is a form of a merit good. This is why governments usually support the delivery of this good. However, one could doubt the efficiency of such solution. How well do public higher education institutions (HEIs) do their job? How to measure their performance? This paper discusses these issues. First, we discuss the problem of defining and measuring efficiency in the case of publicly held HEIs with particular emphasis put on the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) method. Secondly, we present the results of our empirical investigation of efficiency assessed using the DEA method conducted on the sample of 33 Poland faculties specialized in social sciences . We use Charnes-Cooper-Rhodes (CCR) output oriented model with two inputs and three outputs. Next, we present some important differences in efficiency of those faculties. We also define benchmarks for inefficient HEIs and quantify the gaps to be fulfilled by them in order to become efficient. Finally, we pinpoint the directions of further research.
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In the weak evaluation state of Germany, full professors are involved in the traditional social governance partnership between the state, and the self-governing higher education institutions (HEI) and disciplinary associations. Literature suggests that formal and informal governance could trigger changes in academics’ publication behavior by valorizing certain publication outputs. In the article, secondary data from three surveys (1992, 2007 and 2018) is used for a multi-level study of the evolution of academics’ publication behavior. We find a trend toward the “model” of natural science publication behavior across all disciplines. On the organizational level, we observe that a strong HEI research performance orientation is positively correlated with journal articles, peer-reviewed publications, and co-publications with international co-authors. HEI performance-based funding is only positively correlated with the share of peer-reviewed publications. At the level of individual disciplines, humanities and social sciences scholars adapt to the peer-reviewed journal publication paradigm of the natural sciences at the expense of book publications. Considering how the academic profession is organized around reputation and status, it seems plausible that the academic profession and its institutional oligarchy are key contexts for the slow but steady change of academics’ publication behavior. The trend of changing academics’ publication behavior is partly related to HEI valorization of performance and (to a lesser extent) to HEI performance based-funding schemes, which are set by the strong academic profession in the weak evaluation state of Germany.
Today, higher education and research institutions are confronted with variable and sometimes contradictory demands from state, industry and society. They have to face growing volatility in education policy, and a research paradigm that sees an accelerating rate of knowledge growth as well as the internationalization of the knowledge process itself. It is vital that academics and policymakers stay abreast of the impact that policy changes have on education and research in tertiary institutions. Based on a sector-specific theory model for the governance of research organizations, this book outlines evidence of the effects of the so-called ‘new public management reforms’ in the German university and public research sector. The volume aims to shed some light on the differences between the disciplines in input, throughput, profiles of output and the typical conditions of knowledge production, disparities that are currently little understood and are thus not reflected in government policy as ministers implement new governance forms in the research system. It analyzes in detail these new forms, and demonstrates how they affect knowledge production and research performance from the level of research group up to that of the system itself. The authors focus on a set of disciplines that represent the breadth of research divisions in major universities: natural science fields oriented to basic research (astrophysics), two application-oriented fields from the natural sciences (nanoscience and biotechnology), a social science field (economics) and a humanity field (medieval history).
The contemporary study of organizational culture reflects mainline concerns of the organizational sociologist. Though anthropology and cognitive psychology have made significant contributions to this new field, the study of organizational culture may be seen as a return to some of the most basic concerns about the nature of organizations and the appropriate methods for analyzing them. We review current work on theory, empirical studies, and contributions—both theoretical and empirical—o the understanding of planned change of organizations. The contemporary study of organizational culture reflects several hotly contested concerns, among which are the following: Can culture be intentionally managed? Must culture be studied using the tools of the phenomenologist or the ethnographer, or does the use of multivariate statistics also have a place? Which social science paradigm is most appropriate for understanding organizational culture: phenomenology, symbolic interaction, semiotics, structural-functional anthropology, cognitive psychology?
This article offers a comprehensive overview of the structure and problems of research in German higher education institutions, identifying specific areas of stress and change that deserve further research. The authors begin with some basic information on the institutional, financial, and personnel structures of the German system with a special emphasis on their research function. Then they identify several areas of stress concerning the role and future of research at universities: increasing financial constraints and a growing emphasis on the teaching function of higher education; growing pressures toward accountability and usefulness; changing conditons and expectations for research training and junior staff careers; and tendencies to shift research to institutes outside the universities. The next step is to analyze structures of and actors in regulation, steering, and control of higher education in Germany, and the growing concern inside and outside higher education that the traditional distribution of power and patterns of regulation may block the search for necessary reforms.
This paper describes how research into approaches to university teaching, from a relational perspective, has been used to develop an inventory to measure the key aspects of the variation in approaches to teaching. The Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI) is one of several that derive from the research perspective applied by Marton and colleagues in Europe (Marton, F., Hounsell, D., and Entwistle, N. (eds.) (1997). The Experience of Learning, 2nd edn., Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh) to student learning. A feature of these inventories is that they measure the response of a group to a particular context, rather than more general characteristics of individuals in that group. Studies using these inventories have consistently shown relations between students' approaches to learning and the quality of their learning outcome. The question of interest to many university teachers is whether there are relations between the way teachers approach their teaching and ways their students approach their learning. This question was answered in a study published in 1999 that used the ATI to show that teacher-focused approaches to teaching were associated with students' reproducing orientations. Subsequent research revealed that in subjects where teachers adopted more student-focused approaches to teaching, their students adopted a deeper approach to learning. Some recent research using the inventory is reviewed along with an analysis of the validity of the ATI. The current version of the inventory is reproduced in this paper.
Does pay for performance increase productivity? The answer has to be, “Yes, but...” Larger ex gratia payments, bonuses and commissions do motivate employees to put in more effort, but at the same time they provide an incentive for less qualified people to carry out activities that are rewarded by performance-related pay. Consequently, the overall effect of a greater focus on performance is ambivalent: if the motivational effect dominates, output per employee will go up; if the selection effect has the upper hand, output per employee will fall. The trick is to create a compensation structure that exploits the motivational potential of monetary incentives without encouraging inefficient activity. In this chapter we use an empirical study of employee suggestion plans in more than 1,400 companies to show how this is possible. We find that companies that pay higher rewards for suggestions do not receive more useful ideas. The quality of suggestions does not rise because a relatively larger number of less qualified employees take part in generating the ideas. Companies that pay lower amounts but which focus these payments on the best suggestions achieve much greater cost savings. The significance of the motivational and selection effects is not, of course, limited to suggestion plans.
Variable performance-related pay (or “pay for performance”) has become an increasingly popular form of compensation. It is also the preferred form from the point of view of economic theory, specifically with reference to the principalagent theory. In practice it is being used more and more for management grades and other levels of the corporate hierarchy. The key to performance-related pay is that compensation is adjusted to reflect an employee’s individual performance. However, research has shown that variable performance-related pay does not lead to a general increase in a company’s productivity and earnings. Improved performance only occurs in simple, easily measured activities. In other circumstances, pay for performance can even reduce a person’s willingness to perform by “crowding out” the intrinsic motivation to work.