Support and opposition in an attempted higher education merger
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionTertiary Education and Management. 2021, 27, 59-72. 10.1007/s11233-021-09065-5
The study explores an ultimately unsuccessful merger of three Norwegian public university colleges. It shows how social practices of support for and opposition to the merger were the effects of the intersection(s) between why the merger was necessary and how the proposed merger process was enacted. Support and opposition may change during the merger process, since participants move in and out of positions given how the process unfolds. We relate support and opposition to identity. A merger supports attractive identities if it is consonant with overarching normative ideals of higher education and experienced fairness during the merger process. The findings have implications for how we can better understand and explain why some merger initiatives lead to termination instead of a merger.