Svartefoss, Silje Marie (2020):

Public Management Reforms in Norwegian Higher Education Institutions An Exploratory Study of the Relation Between Perceived Academic Freedom, Types of Institutions and Academic Performance Indicators

Institutt for statsvitenskap, UiO





Antall sider:




Land publikasjonen kommer fra:

Norge, Danmark, Sverige, Nederland, UK



Disse opplysningene er sist endret:

20/9 2021

Spesifikke virksomheter publikasjonen omhandler:

Horisontal dimensjon:


This thesis is an exploratory study of the relation between implementation of public management (PM) reforms and the level of perceived academic freedom. Both at the institutional and the individual level. Academic freedom functions as an assurance for the discovery new ideas and production of well founded knowledge that is not influenced by external factors (Shils, 1997, p. 154). The implementation of PM reform sparked a debate concerning the tension between the authorities right control and the autonomy of public organizations, in the 1980s (Christensen, 1991, p. 74). Even so, the relation between perceived academic freedom and PM reform within higher education institutions is still unclear. Based on the literature we identified two specific performance measures with a potential relation to the level of perceived academic freedom (Aagaard, 2015; Aberbach & Christensen, 2018, p. 502). Following this, we selected two perspectives of organizational theory to be applied in this thesis: organization culture and isomorphism (Christensen et al., 2007; DiMaggio and Powell, 2010). Based on the theoretical perspectives, two dimensions of influence for perceived academic freedom were identified: performance and evaluations measures and organizational actors. To measure variation at the institutional level the institutions were divided into four categories, based on the potential for influence of PM reform (Christensen et al., 2007). We found that the overall level of perceived academic freedom varied across types of organizations. Furthermore, that there is a relation between the level of perceived academic freedom at the individual level and publication rate. These findings can partly be explained by viewing higher education institutions as taking part of an ongoing isomorphic process (DiMaggio & Powell, 2010). Where variation is caused by the difference in isomorphic pressure for implementation of changes that affect each dimension of influence. However, our findings also points towards the importance of culture but related to scientific fields rather than institutions. Especially related to the division between hard and soft sciences (Biglan, 1973, pp. 201-202).