From Voluntary Collective Action to Organized Collaboration? The Provision of Public Goods in Pluralistic Organizations

Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 47)


Our study examines the relationship between voluntary collective action, organized collaboration, and the provision of public goods in pluralistic organizations. Using German higher education as a context, we investigate whether specialized central support structures contribute to performance in three fields of action: the training of young scientists, internationalization, and gender diversity. The findings indicate that organized collaboration may lead to improved performance in the training of young scientists and gender diversity. Conversely, voluntary collective action enhances internationalization. Based on our results, we suggest that, depending on the field of action, voluntary collective action and organized collaboration are substitutes with regard to performance. Our study contributes to the literature on collective action and to research on public organizations in pluralistic institutional environments. It also informs higher education research and policy on the effectiveness of new organizational designs based on centralized and specialized support structures at universities.


Centralization Specialization Higher education University commons Postgraduate education Internationalization Gender diversity 



This research is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Grant No. 01PW11018).


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Organization and ManagementUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of International Business CommunicationCopenhagen Business SchoolCopenhagenDenmark

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