Udvikling på kontrakt: En analyse af den offentlige styring af de danske universiteter

Line Hunsbal & Lisbet Jantzen

Student thesis: Master thesis


By the beginning of the 1980s, a new movement in public management introduced target- and framework management, which entailed more freedom into the public institutions. This type of management was accompanied by the introduction of contract management, and by the mid-90s, the development contract was introduced as a steering tool in many public institutions; including the management of the Danish universities. This thesis analyzes and discusses the public management of Danish universities, the introduction of development contact as a steering tool, and its development since its introduction by the end of the 1990s. The analysis is based on Michel Foucault’s conceptual and historical understanding of problemization, and the thesis investigates, on this foundation, how the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Development (VTU) constructs the development contracts in their communication and thereby problematizes the management of the Danish universities. Furthermore, it analyzes the use of various communication strategies mechanisms, based on the work of Urs Stäheli and Chantal Mouffe. Finally, the thesis observes the communication concerning the development contracts as power relations, also based on the work of Foucault. Based on this analytical framework, we have identified a transformation in the way the development contract has been constructed since its introduction, as well as a change in the way power is exerted during the period. Initially, VTU assumed a particularly governmental approach to the universities, and the management is characterised by large degrees of freedom. Later, we identify a more sovereign exercise of power, which, again, transforms into a disciplinary form of power in the university management. By analyzing a contemporary problemization, the thesis argues that a hybrid of all three forms of power can be identified in the current management of the Danish universities. This results in a certain kind of contradictory management, where power is exercised in negative and positive ways simultaneously. This has to some extent common features with more general movements in public management, such as the so-called New Right, where the idea of the free market forces is inexpedient combined with the state’s wish to control.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages114