Future perfect? Conflict and agency in higher education reform in Poland

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The paper is based on an analysis of interviews with individuals engaged in systemic reform of higher education (HE) in Poland. The reform is perceived as controversial: it is supported by the media and claimed to be in line with the expectations of external stakeholders of HE, as well as being congruent with Poland’s international commitments; at the same time, it is unpopular in universities themselves. This ambiguity raises the question of how individuals engaged in promoting the reform in HE institutions identify and position themselves within the complex power structures that promote and resist the change. Data are analysed using critical discourse analysis, which makes it possible to link personal perspectives to structural and political context. The results show how the identity of change agents within their reluctant institutions is stabilized by their relation to quasi-utopian models of the future university.

Keywords: Poland; change agents; critical discourse analysis; higher education reform; organizational change

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2013.848357

Affiliations: Institute of Education, University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland

Publication date: January 2, 2014

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