Outsourcing in UK Universities

By Wendy Phillips, Elizabeth Alexander and Dharm Kapletia

As tuition fees and university funding remain the subject of hot-debate and the delivery of value for money for students rises up the political agenda, HEIs must appeal to a more discerning student ‘market’ whilst demonstrating the efficient and effective use of resources.  Successive UK governments have been driven by a market ideology to deliver policy changes with recent government initiatives calling for the use of commercial practices (e.g. outsourcing) by HEIs to deliver efficiencies, improve quality and support core strategies. The adoption of market-based mechanisms by HEIs contrasts with the state logic inherent to many HEIs, such as a collegiality, communities of practice, public goods and organisational autonomy that favours internal service provision.

In our Policy & Politics paper, we employ institutional logics to understand how HEIs have adopted organisational practices, specifically outsourcing, in response to recent policy changes. Continue reading