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Current Research Projects

Universities in recognition cases? Performance evaluation between reform dynamics and structural conflicts

Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Gabriele Wagner

Project Associates: Matthias Hahn, Dr. Christine Schwarz

Student Assistant: Thorsten Prigge

Project duration: October 2013 - September 2016

Additional financial support: BMBF


Brief Description of Research Goals

Universities are increasingly confronted with the expectation that they present their areas of achievement, evaluate them, and continually improve them. In multiple ways, this demands that universities, on the one hand, use terminology such as “achievement” and “quality” that are neither able to be precisely defined nor easy to compare. On the other hand, one can see that universities as organizations frequently have diverse and divergent assumptions regarding which “achievement” deserves which form of “recognition”.

Therefore, this poses the question as to how a university can achieve the goal of considering recognition and reputation systems while also following impulses for new concepts of “achievement” and “quality”.

This research project investigates evaluations of achievement and competition relating to performance in universities, firstly with regard to the aspect of conditions of recognition.  This recognitional sociology perspective enables new insights because possible dynamics, blockages and side effects then materialize.

Questions and Approaches

In the context of this multi-dimensional qualitative research design, the goals are to investigate:

  • How the evaluations of achievement are organized in a concrete way and how established local policies/evaluation systems/orders of recognition and reputation are incorporated and modified in this procedure.
  • How, alternately, existing policies/systems of recognition effect, promote and/or block the organization of evaluation.
  • Which new orders of recognition are installed through evaluations of achievement and how these relate to the existing orders of recognition.



Prof. Dr. Gabriele Wagner
Leibniz Universität Hannover
Institut für Soziologie
Im Moore 21
30167 Hannover
Tel. +49 511 762 4563
E-Mail: g.wagnerish.uni-hannover.de