Table of Contents:
The thesis summarizes the results of an ethnographic field study conducted at a German university during an institutional reform process. As part of the reform process, initiated by the president, academic research structures were reorganised and a research centre was founded. This thesis describes how the impulses of that reform process - executed in a top-down manner by the rectorate - were translated and negotiated by the various actors involved.
The possible influence of the rectorate regarding governance on academic research is illustrated by the development of German higher education policy from the 1950ies until today. It is shown that present-day policy in this field is oriented towards a competitiveness of academic research. This trend can also be found on an international scale and results in internationally resembling paradigms in higher education policy. These paradigms then influence institutional management practices executed by the heads of universities. This finding is shown on the basis of the work of Barbara Czarniawska. Her work is based on ethnographic methodology in the field of organizational studies and shows how paradigms in higher education policy are translated and then materialized in local institutions like the university studied.
The foundation of the new universitarian research centre is described in five steps. The description focuses on the translation of the top-down initiative by academic actors and the academic committees involved in the process. It is shown how academic research is instrumentalised for the competetiveness of the university and how this results in a change of recognition and appreciation for scientific work. The dynamic described shows how the chosen university is embedded into a broader context of higher education policy and how it is linked to society.