Higher Education

, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 543–565 | Cite as

The impact of new public management instruments on PhD education



New public governance emphasises less state, more market and more hierarchy as the cornerstones for effective steering of higher education institutions. Based on an explorative analysis of qualitative and quantitative data of fourteen German and European economics departments, we investigate the steering effects of six new public management instruments in the years 2001 and 2002 on subsequent placement success of PhD graduates. Using crisp set Qualitative Comparative Analysis to analyse the data, our results deliver strong support for the positive effects of competition for resources and the varying effects of hierarchy on PhD education. Governance of successful departments is characterised by two solutions: transparency over academic achievements as one single success factor in each solution or a combination of additional funding based on national competitive performance with either no public policy regulations for departments or no university regulations for departments. Governance of unsuccessful departments is characterised by one solution: university regulations for departments or a combination of no additional funding based on national competitive performance and no transparency over academic achievements. Our results strengthen the strong impact of selected competitive mechanisms as an effective governance instrument and the partially detrimental effects of state regulations. University regulations turn out to be successful if they increase transparency over academic achievements by faculty members. Success is unlikely if those rules intervene into PhD education.


New public management instruments Competition State regulation Hierarchy PhD education QCA 



Study was financially supported by the German Research Foundation “Internationale Wettbewerbs- und Innovationsfähigkeit von Universitäten und Forschungsorganisationen – Neue Governanceformen (FOR 517)”. Project title: “Die Förderung wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses: ein (lokales) Kollektivgut?” We would like to thank Martin Schneider, Lasse Cronqvist, Gregory Jackson, Jürgen Enders, Christine Musselin with her Centre de Sociologie des Organisations and the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme as well as two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on earlier versions of the paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the EU (IAAEG)University of TrierTrierGermany

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