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Committee ChairRHOADES, GARY
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMany universities and colleges are shifting their missions from teaching-oriented to research-oriented (Clark, 1978, 1983; Riesman, 1956; Selingo 2000), a phenomenon that has become known as academic/institutional drift. During recent years, the knowledge society has created an environment that further encourages the shift by influencing stakeholders in higher education institutions to increasingly accept the role played by research institutions as the most legitimate. Consequently, higher education institutions are becoming increasingly involved in the pursuit of knowledge creation. They are concluding that legitimacy and prestige will be obtained in return, as well as material resources (Slaughter & Rhoades, 2004).Despite the fact that the production of knowledge by Latin American universities is marginal in an international context (Albornoz, 1993; Albatch, 2003), some of them are experiencing institutional drift. Using a case study in combination with a qualitative approach, this research project aims to highlight the nature and implications of the phenomenon through focusing on a Mexican university system. Semi-structured interviews with individuals occupying key positions within the organization and institutional documents constitute the study's sources of information. In addition, academic capitalism, institutional theory, and Hackman's theory of resource allocation are utilized as its theoretical framework.The findings of the study show that although the institution is actively engaging in academic capitalism, societal benefit is not being neglected as a result of such engagement. Nonetheless, the findings relate academic capitalism to further stratification within and across the institution's campuses. It is also concluded that the institution is experiencing isomorphic change by modeling itself after those universities it perceives as prestigious and legitimate in the research endeavor. Regarding internal resource allocation, it is demonstrated that a unit's centrality with respect to the institution's research strategy greatly explains its gains in institutional resources.This study also includes some implications and recommendations for the institution to concentrate on and/or address in order to succeed in its research endeavor. Lastly, some considerations regarding further research are introduced.
Degree ProgramHigher Education