Higher education organisations as dynamic equilibria – how actants’ influence educational reform in real life

Project: Research

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Other Humanities not elsewhere specified



Higher education organisations (HEO) deal with a fundamental tension. On the one hand, they are dependent on their knowledgeable agents (teachers, leaders, administrative staff, etcetera). These are expected to construct knowledge useful for purposeful actions and to critically investigate its limits. In this, they typically act highly individualised. On the other hand, HEOs need to present themselves externally as rational organisations able to support purposeful collaboration among its members. This contradiction is further emphasised in today’s intensified expectations on HEOs to self-reform teaching in times of new research on learning, new generations of technological tools, and increased demands to be accountable to various stakeholders.
In this project, we follow a pedagogical reform introduced by a faculty management. We use Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) (Latour 2007) to uncover the organisational interactions that in the end result in a multitude of interpretations and practices. As a novel approach, we see organisations as manifested through dynamic equilibrium (Smith and Lewis 2011), allowing various actors to influence the overall outcome. We acknowledge the contradiction described above as a specific feature of knowledge-intensive organisations. In the analysis, we recognize the fact that humans, technology, and administrative routines together co-create practices. The outcome of this project will be the recognition of a more complex and, thereby, realistic view on how HEOs operate; insights that in the future will facilitate more productive reform expectations on HEOs.
Effective start/end date2015/12/142021/06/30


Related activities

Bergqvist Rydén, J. (Contributor)
2017 Jun 82017 Jun 9

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

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