Cross-National Academic Perspectives
Chapter 1: The Growing Complexity of the Academic Enterprisein Europe: A Panoramic View. Marek Kwiek
Chapter 1 The Growing Complexity of the Academic Enterprise in Europe: A Panoramic View Marek Kwiek 1. Introduction The increasingly complicated picture of the academic enterprise in Europe is due to several general factors: globalization and Europeanization, educational expansion and the massification of higher education, the economic crisis and public sector reforms, and the knowledge-driven economic competitiveness of nations and regions. Some factors, like expansion and massification, have exerted their influence over a few decades; others, like the economic crisis, for a few years. They can be put under four more general categories of exter- nal pressure exerted on higher education: economic (financial), political (ide- ological), social, and demographic. The factors generating change in national higher education policies and in national higher education systems have been multilayered, interrelated and often common throughout the continent. The growing complexity of the academic enterprise today is also due to the fact that higher education systems in Europe have been under powerful reform pressures.1 Reforms increasingly today, and throughout the European continent, lead to further reforms rather than to reformed higher education systems, which supports the arguments put forward by Nils Brunsson about all organizations in modern society: “large contemporary organizations, whether public or private, seem to be under almost perpetual reform-attempts at changing organizational forms” (Brunsson 2009: 1).2 Higher education has changed substantially in most European economies in the last two or three decades but it is still expected by national and European-level policymakers to change even more, as the recent European...
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