Socially Embedded Universities and the Search for Meaning

  • Bjørn StensakerEmail author
Part of the Public Sector Organizations book series (PSO)


Based on the different contributions in the book, the current chapter reflects upon the relationship between impression management and the internal organization of universities. The chapter acknowledges how universities are adapting to processes of formalization, rationalization and impression management which—some suggest—transform the university from being an institution into becoming an organization. However, the chapter argues that the same drivers that trigger the development of stronger organizational actor-hood also open up for a possible positioning of the university as a socially responsible and moral institution where the cultural, social and economic purposes of the university are balanced. As such, the chapter identifies several paradoxes related to the current development where some of the inherent characteristics of the university may be re-invented.


Impression management Formalization Reputation Social embeddedness Organizational identity Professionalization 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education, Faculty of Educational SciencesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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