Skip to main content

Institutional Struggles for Recognition in the Academic Field: The Case of University Departments in German Chemistry

Abstract

This paper demonstrates how the application of New Public Management (NPM) and the accompanying rise of academic capitalism in allocating research funds in the German academic field have interacted with a change from federal pluralism to a more stratified system of universities and departments. From this change, a tendency to build cartel-like structures of allocating symbolic capital resulting in oligopolistic structures of appropriating research funds has emerged. This macro level structure is complemented by the strengthening of the traditional oligarchic structures of research, carried out by an increasing number of assistants under the direction of a professor on the meso level. The outcome of this institutional setting is a significant gap between the appropriation of research funds according to the allocation of symbolic capital and the production of knowledge in publications. The application of NPM therefore needs to be explained more as a result of the normative pressure of a globally established model of “rational” administration, and less as a result of its functional effectiveness. This is demonstrated by an empirical analysis with simple and multiple regressions using data on the allocation of research grants and publication records of German chemistry departments.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  • Allison, Paul D., J. Scott Long, and Tad K. Krauze. 1982. Cumulative advantage and in-equality in science. American Sociological Review 47(5): 615–625.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bentley, Richard, and Robert Blackburn. 1990. Changes in academic research performance over time. A study of institutional accumulative advantage. Research in Higher Education 31(4): 327–353.

    Google Scholar 

  • Berghoff, Sonja, Gero Federkeil, Petra Giebisch, Cort-Denis Hachmeister, and Detlef Müller-Böling. 2005. Das CHE-Forschungs-Ranking deutscher Universitäten 2005. Working-paper No. 70. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Stiftung.

  • Berghoff, Sonja, Gero Federkeil, Petra Giebisch, Cort-Denis Hachmeister, Mareike Hennings, and Detlef Müller Böling. 2006. Das CHE-Forschungsranking deutscher Universitäten 2006. Gütersloh: Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung.

    Google Scholar 

  • Berghoff, Sonja, Gero Federkeil, Petra Giebisch, Cort-Denis Hachmeister, Mareike Hennings, Isabel Roessler, and Franz Ziegele. 2009. Das CHE-Forschungsranking deutscher Universitäten 2009. Arbeitspapier 130. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Stiftung.

  • Binswanger, Mathias. 2010. Sinnlose Wettbewerbe. Warum wir immer mehr Unsinn produzieren. Freiburg: Herder.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bonitz, Manfred, Eberhard Bruckner, and Andrea Scharnhorst. 1997. Characteristics and impact of the Matthew effect for countries. Scientometrics 40(3): 407–422.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bonitz, Manfred, and Andrea Scharnhorst. 2001. Competition in science and the Matthew core journals. Scientometrics 51(1): 37–54.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1975. The specificity of the scientific field and the social conditions of the progress of reason. Social Science Information 14(6): 19–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1986. The forms of capital. In Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education, ed. John G. Richardson, 241–256. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1988. Homo academicus. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1996. The state nobility. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1998. Practical reason. On the theory of action. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 2001. Science of science and reflexivity. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Broadhead, Lee-Anne, and Sean Howard. 1998. ‘The Art of Punishing’: The research assessment exercise and the ritualization of power in higher education. Education Policy Analysis Archives 6(8): 1–14.

  • Burris, Val. 2004. The academic caste system. Prestige hierarchies in PhD exchange networks. American Sociological Review 69: 239–264.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clark, Burton R. 1998. Creating entrepreneurial universities. Organizational pathways of transformation. Oxford und New York: Pergamon Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cole, Stephen. 1970. Professional standing and the reception of scientific discoveries. American Journal of Sociology 76: 286–306.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cole, Jonathan R., and Stephen Cole. 1973. Social stratification in science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crespi, Gustavo A., and Aldo Geuna. 2006. The productivity of UK Universities. SPRU Electronic Working Paper Series No. 147.

  • Curran, Paul J. 2000. Competition in UK higher education: Competitive advantage in the research assessment exercise and porter’s diamond model. Higher Education Quarterly 54(4): 386–410.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). 1998. Jahresbericht 1997. Bonn.

  • DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). 2002. Jahresbericht 2001. Bonn.

  • DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). 2003. Förder-Ranking 2003. Institutionen – Regionen – Netzwerke. DFG-Bewilligungen und weitere Basisdaten öffentlich geförderter Forschung. Bonn.

  • DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). 2005. Jahresbericht 2004. Bonn.

  • DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). 2006. Förder-Ranking 2006. Institutionen – Regionen – Netzwerke. Bonn.

  • DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). 2008. Exzellenzinitiative auf einen Blick. Bonn.

  • DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). 2009. Förder-Ranking 2009. Bonn.

  • Drori, Gili S., John W. Meyer, Francisco O. Ramirez, and Evan Schofer. 2003. Science in the modern world polity. Institutionalization and globalization. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Durkheim, Emile. 1952. Suicide (trans. Spaulding, J. A. and G. Simpson). London: Routledge.

  • Elton, Lewis. 2000. The UK Research Assessment Exercise: Unintended consequences. Higher Education 54(3): 274–283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Feyerabend, Paul K. 1993. Against method, 3rd ed. London: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fligstein, Neil. 2001. The architecture of markets. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Geuna, Aldo. 2001. The changing rationale for European research funding: Are there negative unintended consequences? Journal of Economic Issues 35(September): 607–633.

    Google Scholar 

  • Geuna, Aldo, and Lionel Nesta. 2006. University patenting and its effect on academic research: The emerging European evidence. Research Policy 35(6): 790–807.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goldstone, Jack A. 1979. A deductive explanation of the Matthew Effect in science. Social Studies of Science 9: 385–392.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gruening, Gernod. 2001. Origin and theoretical basis of new public management. International Public Management Journal 4(1): 1–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Halffman, Willem, and Loet Leydesdorff. 2010. Is inequality among universities increasing? Gini coefficients and the elusive rise of elite universities. Minerva 48(1): 55–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Havemann, Frank, Michael Heinz, and Roland Wagner-Döbler. 2005. Firm-like behavior of journals? Scaling properties of their output and impact growth dynamics. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 56(1): 3–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Heinze, Thomas, Philip Shapira, Juan D. Rogers, and Jacqueline M. Senker. 2009. Organizational and institutional influences on creativity in scientific research. Research Policy 38: 610–623.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hicks, Diana, and James Skea. 1998. Is big really better? Physics World 2: 31–34.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoare, Anthony G. 1995. Scale economies in academic excellence: An exploratory analysis of the United Kingdom’s 1992 research selectivity exercise. Higher Education 29: 241–260.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hollingsworth, J.Rogers. 2006. The dynamics of American discoveries. In Transformationen des Kapitalismus, eds. J. Beckert, B. Ebbinghaus, A. Hassel, and P. Manow, 361–380. Frankfurt am Main/New York: Campus.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jansen, Dorothea, Andreas Wald, Karola Franke, Ulrich Schmoch, and Torben Schubert. 2007. Drittmittel als Performanzindikator der wissenschaftlichen Forschung. Zum Einfluss von Rahmenbedingungen auf Forschungsleistungen. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 59(1): 125–149.

    Google Scholar 

  • Janson, Kerstin, Harald Schomburg, and Ulrich Teichler. 2006. Wissenschaftliche Wege zur Professur oder ins Abseits? Strukturinformationen zu Arbeitsmarkt und Beschäftigung an Hochschulen in Deutschland und den USA. New York: German Academic International Network. Retrieved September 20, 2006. (http://www.gain-network.org/file).

  • Johnes, Jill. 1996, “Performance assessment in higher education in Britain”. European Journal of Operation Research 89: 18–33.

  • Johnes, Jill, and Geraint Johnes. 1995. Research funding and performance in the UK University Departments of Economics: A frontier analysis. Economics of Education Review 14: 301–314.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Krull, Wilhelm (ed.). 1999. Forschungsförderung in Deutschland. Bericht der internationalen Kommission zur Systemevaluation der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft und der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Hannover.

  • Kuhn, Thomas. 1970. The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lane, Jan-Erik. 2000. New public management. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Laudel, Grit. 2006. The ‘quality myth’: Promoting and hindering conditions for acquiring research funds. Higher Education 52: 375–403.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lynn, Laurence E. 1998. A critical analysis of the new public management. International Public Management Journal 1(1): 107–123.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mauss, Marcel. 1967. The gift. Forms and functions of exchange in archaic societies. New York: Norton.

    Google Scholar 

  • McNamee, Stephen J., and Cecil L. Willis. 1994. Stratification in science. Science Communication 15(4): 396–416.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Merton, Robert K. 1968. The Matthew effect in science. Science 159(3810): 56–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Merton, Robert K. 1949/1968b. The self-fulfilling prophecy. In Social theory and social structure, ed. Merton, R. K. 424–436. New York: Free Press.

  • Merton, Robert K. 1949/1968c. “Social Structure and Anomie.” In Social theory and social structure, ed. Robert K. Merton, 185–214. New York: Free Press.

  • Merton, Robert K. 1942/1973. “The normative structure of science.” In The sociology of science, ed Robert K. Merton, 267–278. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Merton, Robert K. 1995. The Thomas theorem and the Matthew effect. Social Forces 74(2): 379–424.

    Google Scholar 

  • Merton, Robert K. 1996. “The Matthew effect in science, II: Cumulative advantage and the symbolism of intellectual property.” In On social structure and science, ed. Robert K. Merton, 318–336. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Meyer, John W., and Brian Rowan. 1977. Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony. American Journal of Sociology 83: 55–77.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, John W., John Boli, George M. Thomas, and Franciso O. Ramirez. (eds). 1997. World society and the nation-state. American Journal of Sociology 103: 144–181.

  • Münch, Richard. 2007. Die akademische Elite. Zur sozialen Konstruktion wissenschaftlicher Exzellenz. Suhrkamp: Frankfurt a.M.

    Google Scholar 

  • Münch, Richard. 2010. Akademischer Kapitalismus. Zur politischen Ökonomie der Hochschulreform. Suhrkamp: Frankfurt a.M.

    Google Scholar 

  • National Science Foundation. 1998. What follows the postdoctorate experience? Employment patterns of 1993 Postdocs in 1995. ISSUE Brief. Retrieved October 20, 2005. (www.nsf.gov/statistics/issuebrf/sib99307.htm).

  • National Science Foundation. 2006. Science and engineering indicators. 2006. Ch. 5 Arlington. Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS). Retrieved May 25, 2007. (www.nsf.ogv/statistics/seind04/c5/c5.htm).

  • Owen-Smith, Jason. 2003. From separate systems to a hybrid order: Accumulative advantage across public and private science at research one universities. Research Policy 32: 1081–1104.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rigney, Daniel C. 2010. Matthew effect: How advantage begets further advantage. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schimank, Uwe. 1995. Hochschulforschung im Schatten der Lehre. Frankfurt/New York: Campus.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sharp, Stephen, and Simon Coleman. 2005. Ratings in the research assessment exercise 2001—The patterns of university status and panel membership. Higher Education 59(2): 153–171.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • SJTU (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) 2010: Academic ranking of world universities. Shanghai: Online. http://www.arwu.org/. Retrieved January 2011.

  • Slaughter, Sheila, and Larry L. Leslie. 1997. Academic capitalism: Politics, policies, and the entrepreneurial university. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Slaughter, Sheila, and Gary Rhoades. 2004. Academic capitalism and the new economy. Markets, state, and higher education. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

  • Statistisches Bundesamt. 2005. Fachserie 11, Reihe 4.3.2 (2003). Bildung und Kultur. Wiesbaden.

  • Statistisches Bundesamt. 2010. Fachserie 11, Reihe 4.3.2 (2008). Bildung und Kultur. Wiesbaden.

  • Tol, Richard S.J. 2009. The Matthew effect defined and tested for the 100 most prolific economists. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 60: 420–426.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Weber, Max. 1922/1976. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

  • Zuckerman, Harriet. 1977. Scientific elite: Nobel laureates in the United States. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Richard Münch.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Münch, R., Baier, C. Institutional Struggles for Recognition in the Academic Field: The Case of University Departments in German Chemistry. Minerva 50, 97–126 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11024-012-9189-3

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11024-012-9189-3

Keywords

  • Academic capitalism
  • Academic field
  • New public management
  • Research grants
  • Scientific capital
  • Symbolic capital