Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/2636
Title: Repertoires of governance among members of Australian university governing boards
Contributor(s): Baird, Jeanette Heather (author); Harman, Kay  (supervisor); Meek, V Lynn (supervisor); Wood, Fiona  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2004
Copyright Date: 2004
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/2636
Abstract: Recent corporate collapses have focused public attention on the roles and responsibilities of governing boards. These issues are also significant for Australian universities. This research examines the repertoires of ideas that public university governing body members use to make sense of their governance functions. Through a qualitative study of the language of members of five university governing boards (councils), it identifies the repertoires, or 'regimes of justification' (Boltanksi & Thevenot 1991), used by board members to interpret the principles and practices of university governance. My thesis is that board members of university councils in Australia use several distinct repertoires - of business, of the community, of traditional university values and of professionalism - to express their ideas about university governance. Analysis of these repertoires, each of which implies a different 'logic of action' (Bacharach, Bamberger, & Sonnenstuhl 1996), illuminates our understanding of why board members interpret governance functions in different and sometimes contradictory ways. It also provides a means to assess the influence of 'managerialist' ideas on Australian university governance and the extent to which Australian university governance is yet to become professionalised. The theoretical basis for the research is drawn from the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, coupled with the discourse analytical method of interpretative repertoires (Wetherell & Potter 1988). By viewing board governance as a locus of discursive struggles over differing systems of value, it becomes possible to analyse the impact on 'practical politics' (Heffernan 1997) of the repertoires of key ideas revealed in discourse by governing board members. This research affirms the significance of organisational and wider societal values in non-for-profit governance. Broad concepts of the public good, participation and the university ideal are used to counterbalance an extreme managerialist view that universities are no more than a particular type of business. It is noted that certain repertoires may be more commonly employed in particular institutions such as regional universities. Reflexive consideration of these differing repertoires by council members could contribute to more effective university governance.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Rights Statement: Copyright 2004 - Jeanette Heather Baird
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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