Exploring the relationship between departmental characteristics and research performance
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Many recent higher education reforms worldwide have been legitimated by their potential impact on the performance of universities and colleges. However, we know less about the actual impact of the changes implemented. This article examines the extent to which research performance can be associated with specific organizational characteristics at the department level. The analysis is based on Norwegian university departments, where high- and low-performing departments have been selected as cases for further investigations. The policy context is the organizational reform in Norway from 2016 onwards aiming at reorganizing the higher education landscape through institutional mergers. The key findings indicate that there are few distinct departmental characteristics associated with research performance, such as elected or appointed leadership, single or multi-campus organization, or departmental size. However, the study reveals that highly productive individuals do matter and suggests that cultural dimensions and working conditions may be interesting factors to pursue in further research.