Change Management in Higher Education

Vortra auf der 2nd INTERNATIONAL CITY BREAK CONFERENCES 17-20 October 2008, Athens, Greece

Today the higher education system is under pressure to adopt fundamental changes in the main fields of their responsibility. The Bologna Process, the emergence of private higher education institutions, the increasing demand for higher education, international competition (ratings) and steep financial cuts by the government are just a few of the major changes in the higher education system that forces universities to change their management in several areas. One important area is the staffing policy. The university teachers or the academic personnel in comparison to the administrative personnel of a university have derived from the freedom of research and teaching (Humboldt) relatively high degree of autonomy regarding to the manner in which they fulfill their work. Especially decisions regarding the teaching and research topics they focused on have been nearly independent from any institutional strategy of the university leadership.

In 2005 the German government passed a law which rearranged the public sector payment of the university professors (ProfBesReformG). it is now possible for the universities to pay a small part of the professor’s salary as performance oriented. The former public sector payment system has been dominated by the rules of seniority which are reversed to a system that forces differences between professors. The main question is how the university leadership handles the performance oriented payment. More precisely this entails two further questions: How does the university leadership introduce the performance oriented payment system (1) and what is their experience with the current system (2).

The following results are based on three case studies within universities who implemented performance oriented payment systems in different ways. On the one hand the way how the university directors implement the new payment systems is strongly connected to the self conception of the particular university and on the other hand offers tight associations to particular organization theories and practices.

In the following I shortly describe the new performance oriented payment system (2) and give an short overview how Universities can be seen as organization from an organizational sociology point oft view (3). Afterward different modes of change management are presented (4) and related to the university organization.

After describing Data and Methods (5) the empirical findings (7) are presented. In a short conclusion the findings are summarized and further questions are entitled (8).



2010 Change Management in Higher Education: The Introduction of Performance Oriented Payment in German Universities. In: Gregory T. Papanikos and Nicholas Pappas: Problems and Prospects in Higher Education, S.167-183.