Culture clash and identity loss: University mergers in Russia

21st October 2021 : 14:00 - 15:00

Category: Webinar

Speaker: Ksenia Romanenko, Institute of Education, National Research University Higher School of Economics

Location: Zoom webinar, registration required

Audience: Public

University mergers are a common practice in higher education systems around the world. Merger-related aspects such as the transformation of organizational and administrative structures, the impact on the internal funding allocation mechanisms, or changes in academic strategies are usually well researched. But the aim of this presentation is to show human side and more specifically student side of university merger processes, which is not so widely discussed. Integrating university organizational identity theory, approaches to understanding university culture, and studies of the human side of mergers and acquisitions, the research encompasses six institutional cases in Russian higher education.

The research data included document analysis, analysis of the merged universities’ representation in the public space, interviews and focus-groups with university teachers, administrators, and with students who studied during the process of university mergers. The cases were selected to illustrate different scenarios of university mergers and analyze the variety of student and professors’ experiences. The paper will highlight anxiety and perceived unfairness due to post-merger changes, the activization of we-they opposition between students and professors from merged universities, the loss or transformation of organizational identity, and clashes of university cultures.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).