Universitetsledelse – styret og/eller styrende?

Lars Christensen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


The thesis takes its departure from two grand narratives about the governance of Da-nish Universities. One termed “Perestrojka” which tells a story about the increasing degrees of freedom of universities, setting university management free to govern themselves. The other narrative labelled “Iron Grip” describes the continuing, if not growing, external governance of university management leaving them firmly placed within an iron cage and making it impossible to govern themselves. On this basis of the two opposing narratives the thesis poses the empirical question, whether university management is governed and/or do govern. The general problem definition crystallizes naturally into three questions. The first be-ing the question whether university management has been and is governed. Advanc-ing from a neo-institutional perspective on the normative vectors and consequently governance as pressure from these rationalities, the thesis finds that university man-agement is governed. It even argues that pressure seems to be growing due to a strengthened market-vector and changed, and possibly, stronger state-vector. The second question posed is whether do university management govern taking the extreme case of University of Copenhagen. Is does so by drawing on a post-structural perspective on management technologies and defining governance as management technology. It is argued that that several new and emerging technologies can be ob-served at the University of Copenhagen and that these constitute the university man-agement as governing and more governing than the classical management technology at universities. Thirdly the thesis explores the implications of the empirical findings for university ma-nagement in general. Coming back to the problem definition, the thesis makes a threefold diagnosis. First that university management is both governed, but secondly also that this on an aggregate level causes “ingovernance” in the sense that the order of the day is irresolvable dilemmas and paradoxes. Thirdly the thesis also argues that governance leads to more governance and consequently to even more “ingovern-ance”. Finally the thesis changes gear and sketch two tentative avenues for University man-agement to go in order to handle and reduce the “ingovernance”.

EducationsMaster of Public Administration, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages92