Vol 46 No 1 (2016)

Barriers to Differentiation: Applying Organizational Studies to Ontario Higher Education

Roger Pizarro Milian
McMaster University
Scott Davies
OISE/University of Toronto
David Zarifa
Nipissing University
Published April 13, 2016


Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is currently attempting to increase institutional differentiation within that province’s post-secondary education system. We contend that such policies aimed to trigger organizational change are likely to generate unanticipated responses. Using insights from the field of organizational studies, we anticipate four plausible responses from universities to the ministry’s directives: remaining sensitive to their market demand, ceremonial compliance, continued status seeking, and isomorphism. We provide several policy recommendations that might help the ministry overcome these possible barriers to further differentiation.



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