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Mode 2 and the tension between excellence and utility: The case of a policy-relevant research field in Sweden

Håkansta, Carin and Jacob, Merle LU (2016) In Minerva 54(1). p.1-20
Abstract
This paper investigates the impact of changing science policy doctrines on the development of an academic field, working life research. Working life research is an interdisciplinary field of study in which researchers and stakeholders collaborated to produce relevant knowledge. The development of the field, we argue, was both facilitated and justified by the, at the time dominant, science policy orthodoxy in Sweden, sector

research. Sector research science policy doctrine favoured stakeholder-driven research agendas in the fields

relevant to the sector. This approach to agenda setting was highly contested by Swedish universities and

left scientists vulnerable to the fallout from any conflicts arising among the... (More)
This paper investigates the impact of changing science policy doctrines on the development of an academic field, working life research. Working life research is an interdisciplinary field of study in which researchers and stakeholders collaborated to produce relevant knowledge. The development of the field, we argue, was both facilitated and justified by the, at the time dominant, science policy orthodoxy in Sweden, sector

research. Sector research science policy doctrine favoured stakeholder-driven research agendas in the fields

relevant to the sector. This approach to agenda setting was highly contested by Swedish universities and

left scientists vulnerable to the fallout from any conflicts arising among the stakeholder groupings that were part of the governance arrangement. Our case shows that working life research was in part a victim of the struggle between science and policy over who sets the agenda for science in Sweden. In this struggle, each side chose to use ‘scientific quality’ as a proxy for furth ing its respective interests and visions for how science should be governed. The paper argues that this case is of interest to the continued elaboration

of the Mode 2 thesis and the debate about ‘relevant science’. We find that the close association with stakeholders and the concomitant dependence it created left working life research unable to defend itself against its critics and that this state of affairs was particularly problematic for social science research on working life. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Mode 2, Working life, Science policy, Sector research, Stakeholders
in
Minerva
volume
54
issue
1
pages
20 pages
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000372286100001
  • scopus:84961119866
ISSN
1573-1871
DOI
10.1007/s11024-015-9288-z
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0b745ad3-16cb-4646-8c66-093bb63757f5 (old id 8408271)
date added to LUP
2015-12-17 11:18:04
date last changed
2017-02-10 15:36:15
@article{0b745ad3-16cb-4646-8c66-093bb63757f5,
  abstract     = {This paper investigates the impact of changing science policy doctrines on the development of an academic field, working life research. Working life research is an interdisciplinary field of study in which researchers and stakeholders collaborated to produce relevant knowledge. The development of the field, we argue, was both facilitated and justified by the, at the time dominant, science policy orthodoxy in Sweden, sector<br/><br>
research. Sector research science policy doctrine favoured stakeholder-driven research agendas in the fields<br/><br>
relevant to the sector. This approach to agenda setting was highly contested by Swedish universities and<br/><br>
left scientists vulnerable to the fallout from any conflicts arising among the stakeholder groupings that were part of the governance arrangement. Our case shows that working life research was in part a victim of the struggle between science and policy over who sets the agenda for science in Sweden. In this struggle, each side chose to use ‘scientific quality’ as a proxy for furth ing its respective interests and visions for how science should be governed. The paper argues that this case is of interest to the continued elaboration<br/><br>
of the Mode 2 thesis and the debate about ‘relevant science’. We find that the close association with stakeholders and the concomitant dependence it created left working life research unable to defend itself against its critics and that this state of affairs was particularly problematic for social science research on working life.},
  author       = {Håkansta, Carin and Jacob, Merle},
  issn         = {1573-1871},
  keyword      = {Mode 2,Working life,Science policy,Sector research,Stakeholders},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {1--20},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Minerva},
  title        = {Mode 2 and the tension between excellence and utility: The case of a policy-relevant research field in Sweden},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11024-015-9288-z},
  volume       = {54},
  year         = {2016},
}