Institutional diversity and its determinants examined through the research positioning of Australian universities.

Download files
Access & Terms of Use
open access
Embargoed until 2021-08-09
Copyright: Zipparo, Julian
This research critically analyses institutional diversity through the research positioning of Australian universities. In so doing, it makes a contemporaneous contribution to the question of how diverse the institutions within the sector are, and in particular, how we can better understand the determinants or factors that help explain it. Understanding institutional diversity and its determinants is essential, given the concept serves as a bipartisan and enduring principle which underpins Australian higher education policy. Successive governments have sought to configure and resource the university sector in ways which meet varied needs and fit within resource constraints. Their approach to optimizing efficacy and efficiency has been through sector level settings designed to encourage institutions with a diverse range of missions. Exploring these questions through multiple methods and a theoretical framework that contributes to balancing historically polarised approaches, this research concludes that Australian university research positioning, while expressed in terms of uniqueness and difference, converges upon common aims and approaches and demonstrates a clear lack of diversity. The apparent homogeneity of research positioning across the sector is explained in part through the shortcomings and inherent contradictions within the mission-based compact program's design and implementation, and is also a product of the interaction between the sector funding model and isomorphism in institutional approaches to competitive resource seeking. However, and importantly, the observed homogeneity is also explained by selective narrative construction by universities, which serve various purposes and act to obscure intra-institutional complexity and what is argued to be significant internal diversity. This internal diversity has considerable implications for seeking diversity at the level of institutions through policy or programs, and indeed for observing for it in research.
Persistent link to this record
Link to Publisher Version
Link to Open Access Version
Additional Link
Zipparo, Julian
Gulson, Kalervo
Muir, Kristy
Conference Proceedings Editor(s)
Other Contributor(s)
Corporate/Industry Contributor(s)
Publication Year
Resource Type
Degree Type
PhD Doctorate
download public version.pdf 2.39 MB Adobe Portable Document Format
Related dataset(s)