academic bureaucracy


Via Marginal Revolution, I see that Todd Zwycki is looking for “literature analyzing academic bureaucracies, especially from a public choice-type perspective.” Visitors to this site probably know this literature as well as anyone. Although most of these use theoretical perspectives distant from public choice, here is what came to mind:

  • Karl Weick’s 1976 “Educational Organizations as Loosely Coupled Systems” from Administrative Science Quarterly generated quite a literature on loose-coupling. Far from public choice but yet very influential in organizational theory.
  • John Meyer and Brian Rowan revived institutional theory in sociology with their analysis of higher education bureaucracies as enacted myths. See especially the 1977 American Journal of Sociology article.
  • Although not directly about bureaucracy, Michael Cohen and Jim March’s garbage can model of decision-making is a fundamental piece about academic organizations.

Any other suggestions?

Written by brayden king

July 11, 2006 at 2:44 pm

Posted in blogs, brayden, research

2 Responses

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  1. Here are some related books:

    * The organization of academic work by Peter M. Blau (1973)
    * Leadership and ambiguity: the American college president, by Michael D. Cohen and James G. March (1974)
    * Governing academia / edited by Ronald G. Ehrenberg (2004)
    * Governing academic organizations : new problems, new perspectives / edited by Gary L. Riley, J. Victor Baldridge (1977)
    * Power and conflict in the university; research in the sociology of complex organizations by J. Victor Baldridge (1971)



    July 12, 2006 at 12:19 am

  2. Thanks for the tips Eric. I wasn’t aware of all these books.



    July 12, 2006 at 2:28 pm

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