Konstitutive betingelser for uddannelsesledelse i et spændingsfelt mellem ekstern styring og krav om selvstyring

Lis Madsen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


During the past 30 years the public sector has undergone an extensive process of modernization focusing on management of the economy, efficiency and results orientation. My thesis analyzes the reform process of the education system. This process has among other things lead to a merging of many small monoprofessional institutions of education into big multiprofessional independent university colleges acting on the market conditions. But the specific challenge of the university colleges is that they are addressed as independent “business enterprises” and at the same time micromanaged by the state (e.g. through performance and framework management, introduction of performance pay and quality assurance requirements. These conditions – with decentralization and recentralization – set a new agenda for management of education. In this thesis I have performed research of the constitutive conditions for education management by the university colleges’ vice principals. I have investigated how education management can be carried out in the tension between central management – including requirements for quality assurance and accreditation – and a decentralized structure in which the conditions for education management are negotiated constantly. I have a constructivist approach – I see the changes in the education field as an expression of a social construction and will deal with how a changed discourse will construct education and education management in a new way. The conversion of the educational system into a corporate structure is followed by a new discourse of education. I have analyzed the political discourse of education and management as it is expressed in the Danish government’s action plan “Bedre uddannelse” (Better Education) from 2002, the strategy of globalization “Fremgang, fornyelse og tryghed” (Prosperity, innovation and security) from 2006 and other governance documents. The government articulates its visions on education and extrapolates education as an important competitive parameter. Therefore quality assurance and control are needed. In 2006 the government formulated a demand for accreditation of all educations. Quality is projected as something that can be put into a formula in a qualification framework and which can be measured through an accreditation. The new discourse of education can be regarded as a neoliberal discourse of competition and control. This discourse focuses on the comparability of the educations and output. It does not focus on outcome – the quality of the content of the educations. This is a discourse of mistrust – there is no confidence that the educations produce the requested product. In a new institutional analysis of Læreruddannelsernes Ledernetværk (The network of vice principals in the teacher education) I examine how this network puts the demand for accreditation on the agenda. My analysis shows how the network through the agenda and discussion interprets and edits the political discourse and the rationalized myths that this discourse represents, and presents a vision of how the requirement for accreditation can be presented locally so that it (also) appears as a tool for development and thus meaningful to employees at a teacher education. It also shows that the network articulates the rationalized myths of the teacher education and “the culture of the former teacher-training colleges” (as I conceptualize it). Further on I analyze how the vice principal of Læreruddannelserne på Metropol (Teacher Educations at the Metropol) works towards securing quality and accreditation. This analysis gives me an empirical insight into how the space for education management is construed at the Metropol. It becomes clear that the task and the space of the educations management is not a foregone conclusion, but they are created through negotiation or fight by every single vice principal. Based on my analyses I discuss the constitutive conditions for education management, and my conclusion is that modern, public education management is characterized by the fact that management is carried out in a hyper complex context including many external and internal demands for control and many different opinions on what education management is. The vice principal must be able to navigate between many – often conflicting – rationales and cultures and must construe his/her own identity of management among the many possible management styles. The vice principal must find his/her own fixed placed from where (s)he can act as a creative force to construe collectively binding decisions in the actual teacher education - decisions that reflect the logics and paradoxes by which the institution is determined.

EducationsMaster of Public Administration, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages53