STRATEGIC SELF-MANAGEMENT - Danish gymnasium management between playing solo and showing solidarity

Katrin Hjort, Peter Henrik Raae


Compared to other parts of the Nordic education systems the Danish gymnasium or upper secondary school has been reformed very late. Today however, the tendencies in neoliberal educational politics represented by the European Bologna process, the PISA studies and OECD’s recommendations are implemented in national governance in Denmark, and the gymnasiums have to adapt to the new management technologies embedded in New Public Management: Competence orientation, accountability and commercialisation as means or ends. How are gymnasium principals coping with this new situation? This article sheds light on strategies that gymnasium heads will use to create room for manoeuvre and the discourse they draw upon in order to give these strategies political legitimacy. The analysis shows how the Danish tradition of self-management, participant or ‘bottom-up democracy’ continues to have considerable significance. Despite internationalisation the traditional Danish concepts of self-ownership and cooperativeness still appear to be mental shapes or frames of understanding.

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Journal of Public Administration and Governance  ISSN 2161-7104


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