En högskola blir till : Beslutsteoretiska perspektiv på organisatoriskt varande

Sammanfattning: What defines a Swedish university college? This is the overarching question in this archival study of the development of the Swedish university colleges during the past 35 years. The objective of the study is to explore the binary elements in the overall unitary Swedish university system. Departing from existing macro level research on the university colleges (UCs), this study focuses on one single UC. Development of the UC was conceptualized as a question of decision-making in the UC in interplay with political decisions. The UC was explored by taking an extensive inductive approach starting from the original Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice, a perspective on organizations that focuses on the temporal order emerging from decisions, rather than enduring orders. Nine decisions situations in the UC were identified as well as four political reforms. The study shows that the concept “streams” from the model are the phenomena occupying organization members mind over time, thus constituting a recurring element although not an enduring order, tying together the temporal orders. The streams are shared between the UC and political decision-making; the two decision-making entities both take part in forming the streams over time. The streams are: (1) the academic discipline; (2) the vocational education; (3) research as a means to enhance the quality of education; and (4) regional relevance. The study proposes the emergence of a fifth stream, the research profile, which is taken to be a unique stream for the UCs in general, that differentiates them from the universities. The analysis shows that the UC continuously adjusts the law to the organizational conditions rather than implements legislation when new, hence offering a perspective on organizational change as a persistent condition inherent in the organizational body rather than definable events. By using the concept stream the study suggests a conceptualization of the political influence on the UC organizational body as well as a conceptualization of how the UC influence political decisions. This conceptualization provides a novel perspective on the relationship between state and the universities. A perspective that can be explored in future research, focusing on mutual adjustments of the streams.

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