University Autonomy and Professorial Recruitment

Philipp Friedrich, former research assistant at the FLAGSHIP project, has defended his MA thesis at the Department of Education, University of Oslo, on university autonomy and professorial recruitment. His supervisor was Tatiana Fumasoli.

The MA thesis studies the University of Vienna's Department of Economic and Social History (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)


This master thesis examines professorial recruitment at the University of Vienna from the perspective of the Department of Economic and Social History. Starting point and theoretical assumption is based on the concept of living autonomy. This concept states that university autonomy effects cannot be understood by focusing solely on formal reform aspects and thus confronts them with de facto, ‘living’, autonomy. Living autonomy emphasises the importance of the working floor of the university and their interpretation of autonomy. The research question of the master thesis is how practices of institutional autonomy concerning the recruitment of professors change in the backdrop of the latest university reforms in Austria. In order to answer this question a document review of policy papers was made in combination with key expert interviews at different levels of the university. The study reveals that departmental influence still provides substantial input on the recruitment process and that university reforms have constrained the input of the working floor with regards to professorial recruitment only to a limited extent. However, by strengthening the executive structure, a coherent university strategy in terms of quality- and international-oriented appointment policy became possible which stands in contrast to former recruitment practices.

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University Autonomy and Professorial Recruitment: A Case Study at the Department of Economic and Social History
Philipp Emanuel Friedrich

Master of Philosophy in Higher Education
Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo
December 2013

Published Mar. 13, 2014 11:06 PM - Last modified Mar. 13, 2014 11:06 PM