Year: 1993

Author: Sendlak, Izabel

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Until now, universities have existed for the purpose of handing down to the next generation the knowledge and values fundamental to their particular role in a society. In the current era of academia, universities seem to drift towards other goals and ideals. The process of changes that universities have undergone in the last decades has transformed their organisational structure and culture: their traditional value systems, hierarchy of aims and forms of behaviour accepted by the university community. These changes could be analysed at individual as well as institutional levels. The paper summarises the results of the study which examined some symptoms of the changes observed at the individual level. Specifically, it characterises the most common ways in which academics adapt to the changing reality and define their role within the university. It also indicates those of the global processes and local factors which have affected the culture of Australian universities. The conclusions to follow are based upon the analysis of 34 interviews with academic staff which focused on the academics' perceptions of, and their adaptation to, the university system, its changing goals, ideals and new demands. This analysis was supplemented by the review of the articles and policy papers concerning the issues of quality, equality and competence in Australian universities. The results of the analyses of all empirical data collected in the study were consistent and revealed two distinct patterns of adaptation of the academics to the new university reality: traditional and bureaucratic.