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Reorganising the Teaching-Research Tension

Institutional Management in Higher Education

In this paper we examine the tensions resulting from the transformation processes going on in research and teaching, typical at traditional universities that have been actively developing their research mission. We will also look at universities that only recently decided to focus on research and wonder if they will be able to better manage or even avoid such tensions.

More specifically, we will reflect on the possibility of unbundling the teaching and research missions and the resulting tasks of professors. A growing number of newcomers in higher education are taking up parts of the activities of traditional universities. How will they develop? What are the possible answers from traditional players? In addressing these questions, we will look at the value chain for each of the activities and see if and how reconfiguration can provide the answer.

The analysis will enhance our understanding and provide inspiration for new management approaches. In traditional institutions, unbundling seems to have started at the structural level but support systems are lacking and at the individual level academics are still expected to engage in research and teaching besides many other tasks, such as administration and service to the community at large.

We will discuss these issues in the context of the broader literature on the topic and draw conclusions that should be relevant for everyone in the higher education sector involved in managing tensions between research and teaching.

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