Historical Social Research

Insa Pruisken: Institutional Logics and Critique in German Academic Science Studying the Merger of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. [Abstract]

This contribution looks into changing institutional logics in the field of academic science in Germany using the case of the merger between the University of Karlsruhe and the Research Center Karlsruhe as an example. As a result of an ongoing process of critique, a new institutional logic of “organizational competition” was theorized over time that contradicted the dominant logic of “corporatist planning.” The conditions for the merger case were 1) an increasing alignment and cooperation between both organizations as an outcome of the public critique of big science research institutes, and 2) the rise of a new institutional logic of organizational competition including the organizational implementation of a new management model of science, notably the concept of the "entrepreneurial university" (e.g. the MIT in the United States). After the merger had been decided, political activities shifted from a projective "mode of theorization" to a pragmatic "mode of negotiation." The institutionalization of the new "Karlsruhe Institute of Technology" (KIT) was shaped by two competing logics: Whereas the state and the Helmholtz Society did not want to lose their influence, the new KIT was committed to the concept of the "entrepreneurial university" and thus to a higher degree of organizational autonomy and stra-tegic management. The final outcome was a compromise built on a layered structure that combined pre-existing and new organizational structures.

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