Rankings and the Rise of the Logic of Quantification

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Michael SAUDER, University of Iowa, USA
Hyunsik CHUN, University of Iowa, USA
This paper examines how rankings contribute to the rise of a “logic of quantification” in higher education. Drawing on an intensive qualitative study of universities in South Korea, we show how the growing influence of rankings paved the way for the development of new ways of conceptualizing how these schools should be managed and the types of outcomes they should produce. We identify six processes through which this quantification logic has become dominant and, importantly, entrenched itself in organizational structure and process. This entrenchment, we argue, buffers these organizations from future challenges to the now dominant logic. We conclude by discussing the implications for these findings in settings beyond Korea and in realms other than higher education.