Higher Education Policy

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 71–91 | Cite as

Balancing the Moods: Quality Managers’ Perceptions and Actions Against Resistance

  • Florian Reith
  • Markus SeyfriedEmail author
Original Article

Quality management (QM) in teaching and learning is a result but also a cause of organizational change in higher education institutions. Hence, quality managers are confronted with different responses from academia (e.g., resistance) to institutional processes caused by QM in teaching and learning. The following article investigates how and with which actions quality managers respond to academics’ resistance. For this purpose, we use a theoretical framework suggested by Oliver (Acad Manag Rev 16(1):145–179, 1991), who distinguishes between different strategies and tactics. Our research focuses particularly on the strategy of compromising, which seems to be dominant and constitutive for quality managers as members of an emerging higher education profession. Our empirical results show that quality managers take different actions that are related to tactics like balancing, pacifying and bargaining.


higher education quality management institutional processes resistance balancing 



We are grateful to Isabell Steinhardt and Christian Schneijderberg for their comments on an earlier version of this article. Furthermore, we want to thank our two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


This work originates from the research project WiQu—impact research on quality assurance of teaching and learning—procedural, structural and personnel causes of quality assurance departments’ impact. It was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) [Grant Number 49 01PY13003A/B].


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Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Federal Armed Forces, Helmut Schmidt UniversityHamburgGermany
  2. 2.University of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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