External research funding and authority relations

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This chapter analyses how the increasing external research project funding has affected the authority over research for managers and researchers in Nordic universities. Drawing on both the qualitative and quantitative data from the FINNUT project, the chapter uses institutional theory to investigate how authority relations between managers and researcher unfold by focusing on the themes content, time, and people. For researchers, the increasing external funding has resulted in some reduction of the authority over research. However, researchers do employ a range of defence mechanisms in order to protect their research freedom. For managers, the results are ambiguous since, on the one hand, their authority over the content and direction of research in their units are limited due to external funding, while, on the other hand, the pressure in general to secure external funding has spurred a budget-maximisation logic which has helped legitimise a range of managerial control techniques intended to pressure researchers to obtain more external funding.




Krog Lind, J., Hernes, H., Pulkkinen, K., & Söderlind, J. (2019). External research funding and authority relations. In Reforms, Organizational Change and Performance in Higher Education: A Comparative Account from the Nordic Countries (pp. 145–180). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11738-2_5

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