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The Dynamics of Change in Higher EducationExplaining Change in the College Sector

The Dynamics of Change in Higher Education: Explaining Change in the College Sector [The aim of this chapter is to develop a theoretical and analytical framework in order to improve our understanding of change in the higher education system outside universities. Explaining change in higher education would have been a rather simple exercise if a grand theory of social system change was readily available as an analytical tool, and if such a theory could convincingly explain all the processes embedded in the transformation of the college sector. Grand theories of course exist, but their explanatory power would have been limited if only one of them were applied. Such theories are attractive because they offer simple explanations to complex problems, but they can hardly be generalised to account for all change processes. The causes for each of the many changes that have taken place in higher education outside universities are too many and too complex to be explained by a single theory. In this respect, this study follows the general advice of Merton (1968: 39) on the fruitfulness of applying a diversity of theories of ‘the middle range’ to investigate and explain human behaviour, social processes, and social structure instead of using or developing a unified theory that aims to explain all observed phenomena. In line with this recommendation, this study employs a plurality of theories and analytical approaches to illuminate each of the change processes.] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

The Dynamics of Change in Higher EducationExplaining Change in the College Sector

Part of the Higher Education Dynamics Book Series (volume 27)

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
© Springer Netherlands 2009
ISBN
978-1-4020-9245-9
Pages
21 –39
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4020-9248-0_2
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[The aim of this chapter is to develop a theoretical and analytical framework in order to improve our understanding of change in the higher education system outside universities. Explaining change in higher education would have been a rather simple exercise if a grand theory of social system change was readily available as an analytical tool, and if such a theory could convincingly explain all the processes embedded in the transformation of the college sector. Grand theories of course exist, but their explanatory power would have been limited if only one of them were applied. Such theories are attractive because they offer simple explanations to complex problems, but they can hardly be generalised to account for all change processes. The causes for each of the many changes that have taken place in higher education outside universities are too many and too complex to be explained by a single theory. In this respect, this study follows the general advice of Merton (1968: 39) on the fruitfulness of applying a diversity of theories of ‘the middle range’ to investigate and explain human behaviour, social processes, and social structure instead of using or developing a unified theory that aims to explain all observed phenomena. In line with this recommendation, this study employs a plurality of theories and analytical approaches to illuminate each of the change processes.]

Published: Jan 1, 2009

Keywords: High Education; Change Process; High Education Institution; State Authority; Study Programme

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