Over the last two decades, the Spanish higher education and research sector has undergone profound changes, but little is known about the implementation of recent reforms and how university actors responded to policy change and institutional pressures within a changing resource environment. Drawing on the insights from institutional and resource-dependence theory, we show how Spanish public universities have coped and implemented their human resources policy over the past 15 years and whether individual universities converged in their employment behaviour. The aggregate evolution of university employment trends reveals adaptation to the institutional normative pressures and financial constraints. Our results also show that some universities are more responsive to changes in the resource environment than others, and that compliance is not the only strategic response. In so doing, we aim to contribute to existing research on strategic behaviour of actors and coalitions facing policy change, and to the construction of analytical bridges between environmental changes (institutional and economic) and organisational dynamics underlying policy implementation.
Higher education, organisational change, policy change, Spain, university reforms
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