Change and continuity in the academic profession: Finnish universities as living labs

TitleChange and continuity in the academic profession: Finnish universities as living labs
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsSiekkinen, T, Pekkola, E, Carvalho, T
JournalHigher Education
Date Published04/07/2019
KeywordsAcademic profession, Change, Managerialism, new public management, universities

The academic profession is challenged by the changing environment. Global trends, such as managerialism and new public management, have been influencing all public organizations, including universities. The academic profession is dynamic by its nature; it reflects any changes in its environment. However, the academic profession is also characterized by continuity. In this study, we describe the current changes and continuities of the academic profession in Finland, as perceived by top and middle managers employed in Finnish Universities. We found out that logics and values by organizational professionalism are emphasized; however, occupational professionalism is also deeply rooted in the practices of Finnish universities. Additionally, we found out that changes are often associated with managerial values, such as control and evaluation, and in contrast, the continuities of academic work are commonly related to professorial authority and academic identity. These two aspects of the profession and organization are not opposite, they occur simultaneously; however, there are tensions between them. In this article, we would like to emphasize that change of the academic profession is a hybrid, there exists both, changes and continuities in the logics and values related to the profession and the organization.


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