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On the governance of social science research: the replacement of profession with performance contracts

Mai S. Linneberg, Hanne Norreklit and Philipp Schröder

International Journal of Public Policy, 2009, vol. 4, issue 3/4, 251-267

Abstract: The majority of social science research is conducted within public or semipublic institutions, such as universities. Over the past decades, these institutions have experienced substantial changes in governance structures and an increased focus on performance contracts. Obviously, the new structures do not enter into a governance vacuum, but replace the existing profession-based governance structures. The present paper has a twofold purpose. First, we map the key features and problems of a profession-based governance system, focusing on principal-agent issues and motivational drivers. Second, we study the implications of the current changes in the social science research landscape, along with the central aspects of mechanism design, validity and employee motivation, as well as the ability to establish socially optimal resource allocations. We identify a number of potential problems that may come along with the current changes in governance structures and suggest directions for alternative solutions.

Keywords: university research; governance systems; performance contracts; profession based governance; social science research; principal agent; motivation; resource allocation. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ids:ijpubp:v:4:y:2009:i:3/4:p:251-267