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The Construction of Support and Opposition: A Study of an Attempted Higher Education Merger
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Karlstad Business School.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study focuses on support and opposition in an attempted merger between three Norwegian university colleges.  The university colleges that took part in the merger process were Buskerud University College, Vestfold University College and Østfold University College, all three located in the south-east part of Norway. The study takes its point of departure in the fact that the merger process was terminated before a decision to merge was reached. It aims to describe the two discourses of support and opposition, and explain change in discursive practices from support to opposition.

The thesis is divided into three parts. In the first part the conceptual framework used in the analysis is presented, as well as the area of mergers in higher education and methodological aspects.  Four conceptual pairs are used to analyse the merger process; support/opposition, idea/operationalisation, outwards/inwards and modern/traditional. The second part is constructed as a play with acts presenting the merger process in a chronological order where the conceptual pairs are used to describe and explain discursive practices. The third and final part focuses on general insights into the construction of support and opposition in the terminated merger process.

The study shows that the use of different discursive practices evolved into antagonism between the three university colleges leading to the termination of the merger process. Supporting the idea to merge in order to achieve university status was not enough to support the merger if the operationalisation of how the merger process was to be conducted, and how the merged organisation was to be constructed led to a disadvantageous power position.  In addition, discursive practices of support and opposition were conditioned by discourses of the education market and academic drift.

Abstract [en]

This study focuses on support and opposition in an attempted merger between three Norwegian university colleges. It aims to describe and explain how discourses of support and opposition conditioned the outcome of the merger process.The thesis is divided into three parts. In the first part the four conceptual pairs – support/opposition, idea/operationalisation, outwards/inwards and modern/traditional – used to analyse the merger process, are introduced, as well as the area of mergers in higher education and methodological aspects. The second part is constructed as a play with acts presenting the merger process in a chronological order. The third and final part focuses on general insights into the construction of support for and opposition to the merger.The study shows how different discursive practices evolved into antagonism between the three university colleges leading to the termination of the merger process. Support for the idea of the merger as a means of achieving university status was not sufficient; the operationalisation of the merger process itself and the proposed construction of the merged organisation resulted in power struggles. In addition, support and opposition were conditioned by discourses of the education market and academic drift.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2015. , 202 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 47
Keyword [en]
Mergers, Higher Education, Support, Opposition, Critical Discourse Analysis
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Working Life Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38063ISBN: 978-91-7063-665-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-38063DiVA: diva2:857360
Public defence
2015-12-11, 11D121, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-11-20 Created: 2015-09-28 Last updated: 2015-11-18Bibliographically approved

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