How do Academics adopt new practices during a reform ? The Evolution of doctoral education in France 1992-2009.

Abstract : How have reforms in French doctoral education and academic research been implemented? How do changing doctoral education practices lead to changing research practices? New practice adoption among academics usually happens incrementally in the course of their everyday activity. Top-down organizational change requires these autonomous professionals to adopt new practices willingly, so as to comply with the reform. Understanding the microlevel conditions under which this adoption happens is critical to the management of change in universities and research organizations. Drawing on the empirical analysis of a reform seeking to improve PhD supervision in French universities, we find that academics adopt new practices only once they have performed a cognitive reframing of the situation, and under the condition that new practices are - or can be made - compatible with their autonomy of judgment and their extant professional role and identity. Otherwise, the reform leads to ceremonial adoption, hesitation or rejection of new practice. Paradoxically, coercive features of the reform may support new practice adoption, but only when they are taken over by professionals themselves and support them in the building of a leader figure compatible with professional values.
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Vincent Mangematin. How do Academics adopt new practices during a reform ? The Evolution of doctoral education in France 1992-2009.. 2011. ⟨hal-00658038⟩

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