The Influence of Market Force Culture on British and German Academics


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    Higher education (HE) in Germany and the United Kingdom is being continually subjected to the discipline of market forces. An empirical study was conducted using questionnaires with academic staff in twelve institutions in each country to discover the extent to which their values and attitudes were converging, and were in keeping with what might be expected within a marketized system. Academics in both countries felt that HE was seriously under-resourced, yet they were not strongly in favour of increased executive power for their leaders; they believed that the good functioning of their higher education institution (HEI) was impeded by excessive state-sponsored interference, but did not agree that their HEIs should act more commercially and entrepreneurially. The British especially were opposed to greater privatization of the system. Attitudes in keeping with a market force philosophy seem to be superficially embedded in the value system of these academics, and though the British were more stressed, more hard-worked and suffered from a status-deficit incomparison with the Germans, there was no statistical difference between the two groups on a summative judgement of professional satisfaction. There appears to be an underlying professional ethos that enables the academics to remain positive despite the turbulence that market forces may cause, though this dedication may also make them vulnerable to exploitation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)433-454
    JournalComparative Education
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2005


    • Higher education
    • market forces
    • German higher education
    • staff
    • students
    • marketisation.


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